Breaking the Cycle of Violence

Teen Page

Donate to Foundation Now What is Dating Violence?

Dating violence is a pattern of abusive behaviors used to exert power and control over a dating partner.

A Pattern of Behavior

Calling dating violence a pattern doesn't mean the first instance of abuse is not dating violence. It just recognizes that dating violence usually involves a series of abusive behaviors over a course of time.

Every relationships is different, but the one thing that is common to most abusive dating relationships is that the violence escalates over time and becomes more and more dangerous for the young victim.

Who Experiences Dating Violence?

Any teen or young adult can experience violence, abuse or unhealthy behaviors in their dating relationships. A relationship may be serious or casual, monogamous or not, short-term or long-term. Dating abuse does not discriminate – it does not see gender, sexual identity, economic status, ethnicity or religious preference.


What Does Dating Violence Look Like?

Teens and young adults experience the same types of abuse in relationships as adults. This can include:

Physical Abuse: Any intentional use of physical force with the intent to cause fear or injury, like hitting, shoving, biting, strangling, kicking or using a weapon.

Verbal or Emotional Abuse: Non-physical behaviors such as threats, insults, constant monitoring, humiliation, intimidation, isolation or stalking.

Sexual Abuse: Any action that impacts a person’s ability to control their sexual activity or the circumstances in which sexual activity occurs, including rape, coercion or restricting access to birth control.

Digital Abuse: Use of technologies and/or social media networking to intimidate, harass or threaten a current or ex-dating partner. This could include demanding passwords, checking cell phones, cyber bullying, sexting, excessive or threatening texts or stalking on Facebook or other social media.

Ten Warning Signs of Abuse

While there are many warning signs of abuse, here are ten common abusive behaviors:

Checking your cell phone or email without permission
Constantly putting you down
Extreme jealousy or insecurity
Explosive temper
Isolating you from family or friends
Making false accusations
Mood swings
Physically hurting you in any way
Possessiveness
Telling you what to do


If you or a loved one is in a violent relationship, please get help.

For more information on teen dating, please visit http://www.loveisrespect.org/
Crisis Line: (605) 224.7187
Toll Free: 1.800.696.7187
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