Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence

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Domestic Violence: Finding Safety and Support

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Considerations for Parents

As a parent, it is important to know that young people have a unique set of factors affecting their choices regarding dating relationships, including peer pressure, the desire to be popular, lack of dating experience, and mistaking jealous and controlling behavior for “love.” They may be struggling with their sexual orientation and identity. Violence in their dating relationship may cause more stress and lead to more traumatic experiences for these young adults. Many popular movies, songs and video games desensitize our youth to violence, particularly violence against women, and reinforce the stereotype that a girl is a guy’s property and that he is the one in charge.

If You Think Your Child Is Being Abused

Parents and concerned others can keep an eye out for warning signs by answering the following:

If you think your child is being abused by a boyfriend or girlfriend, there are things you can do. If you feel uncomfortable discussing these issues directly, or think your child may not talk to you, it may be helpful to print out information about teen dating violence and leave it in a public family area for them to read when they are alone. You can also provide them with contact information for other trusted adults or helplines. Keep in mind that if this information is kept somewhere the abuser may be able to see, it could be very dangerous. Also, do not confront someone you believe is an abuser until you have helped your child plan for their safety. Although an abuser may seem calm when they are talking with you, they could take out their anger on your child the next time they are alone. Consider contacting your local domestic violence program for ideas about safety planning and options.

What to do:

What NOT to do:

If You Think Your Child Is an Abuser

What to do:

What NOT to do: