Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence

Teen Dating Violence Information for Parents



Teen dating violence can include multiple forms of abuse including unwanted physical contact, sexual abuse, and/or psychological manipulation. What’s more, while 67% of parents believe they know what is occurring in their children’s intimate/dating relationships, only 51% of teens believed their parents knew “a lot” or “everything” about their relationship.1 In a 2011 national study of over 15,000 high school students, 9.4% self-reported they had been physically harmed by their partner and 8% of students had been forced to have sex in the previous 12 months2, but less than 3% of teens reported abuse to an authority figure.3 In addition, over 80% of high school counselors reported that their school did not have a protocol for teen dating violence.4

Technology and Dating Abuse

Teens frequently communicate with one another through cell phones, email, and social media sites. Since technology provides quick, constant access to people, it is often used as a tool for abuse and a means to establish power and control that is easier to hide than physical violence and verbal assaults. A recent study showed that one in four teens in a relationship has been harassed or insulted by their partner via cell phone, 5 and almost 40% of teenagers say they were contacted by their partner electronically 10 to over 30 times an hour between 6 and 10pm.6 Since most technology requires passwords and access codes, teens can easily hide technology-based abuse from their parents, despite how frequently it can occur. For example, of the, 65% of teens who were asked to engage in unwanted sexual activity through technology, 82% did not tell their parents about it.7

Examples of abusive behavior:
Psychological/Threats and Intimidation
How to Help a Teen Victim:
For More Information:
For Parents
Helplines and Online Chat Available 24 Hours a Day/7 Days a Week

  1. Liz Claiborne, Inc./Teen Research Unlimited. (2008). Tween and Teen Dating Violence and Abuse Study.
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. [Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance]. MMWR 2012;61(No. SS-4):[10], .
  3. Molidor, C., Tolman, R., & Kober, J. (2000). Gender and contextual factors in adolescent dating violence. The Prevention Researcher, 7(1),1.
  4. Jagdish Khubchandani, James H. Price, Amy Thompson, Joseph A. Dake, Michael Wiblishauser, and Susan K. Telljohann “Adolescent Dating Violence: A National Assessment of School Counselors’ Perceptions and Practices,” Pediatrics (2012); 130:2 202-210,.
  5. Liz Claiborne, Inc./Teen Research Unlimited. (2007). Tech abuse in teen relationships study.
  6. Liz Claiborne, Inc./Teen Research Unlimited. (2007). Tech abuse in teen relationships study.
  7. Liz Claiborne, Inc./Teen Research Unlimited. (2007). Tech abuse in teen relationships study.
  8. National Criminal Justice Reference Service. (2013) An Exploratory Study of Juvenile Orders of Protection as a Remedy for Dating Violence.