February is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

February brings snowy winter storms and valentine hearts, but did you know - February is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness month?

1 out of 3 teenage relationships are abusive. That means out of 3 teenagers, 1 may be victim to stalking and/or physical, emotional, or sexual violence. According to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, 15% of male and 22% of female survivors of intimate partner violence first experienced this violence between the ages of 11 and 17 years of age*. Unfortunately, most research is not inclusive of non-binary folx even though they experience abuse at higher rates.

Teenagers in violent relationships are at risk for disordered eating, substance abuse, and risky sexual behavior. Furthermore, young people who experience abuse as teenagers are more likely to experience it as adults and/or use violence in their adult relationships.

Unfortunately, only 42% of parents of teenagers could recognize the signs of abuse**. Whether you’re in a relationship or single or know a teenager or not, there are ways you can uplift and support teenage survivors of abuse. In supporting teenagers, it is crucial to center their agency and self-determination in dialogue and action.

How can you support survivors:

· Listen.

· Believe.

· Validate.

· Ask about safety.

· Safety plan.

· Provide options and resources.

· Respect whatever decisions they make.

If you or someone you know may be in an unhealthy relationship, you’re NOT alone.

To connect with professionals and get support:

· Call - National Dating Abuse Hotline: 1-866-331-9474

· Call - National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233

· Call - Maryland House of Ruth Hotline: 410-889-7884

· Chat - Love Is Respect Online Chat: www.loveisrespect.org

· Text - LOVEIS to 22522

Dating should be fun and healthy!

*The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS): 2010 Summary Report

**Troubled Economy Linked to High Levels of Teen Dating Violence & Abuse Survey, 2009


2020 University of Maryland School of Social Work

Office of Communications  410.706.4542  bulletin@ssw.umaryland.edu