What is Teen Dating Violence?

Florida Department of Education defines Teen Dating Violence as a pattern of emotional, verbal, sexual, or physical abuse used by one person in a current or past dating relationship to exert power and control over another when one or both of the partners is a teenager. Abuse may include insults, coercion, social sabotage, sexual harassment, stalking, threats and/or acts of physical or sexual abuse. The abusive partner uses this pattern of violent and coercive behavior to gain power and maintain control over the dating partner. This may also include abuse, harassment, and stalking via electronic devices such as cell phones and computers, and harassment through a third party, and may be physical, mental, or both.

In Teen Dating Violence relationships, there are Three Important Roles:

  • The Abuser – A person who physically, sexually, verbally or emotionally hurts a dating partner.
  • The Victim – A person who is hurt physically, sexually, verbally or emotionally by a dating partner.
  • The Bystander – A person who is aware that someone is being abused in a dating relationship. The bystander may become aware of the abuse through the abuser’s or target’s actions or words, or through second-hand information.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures states:

2010 Fla. Laws, Chap. 217 (2010 SB 642/HB 467) Requires a comprehensive health education taught in the public schools to include a component on teen dating violence and abuse for students in grades 7 through 12. Would require district school boards to adopt and implement a dating violence and abuse policy and provides policy requirements. Also would require the Department of Education to develop a model policy that includes school personnel training.

Fla. Stat. § 784.046  A victim of dating violence that has reasonable cause to believe he or she is in imminent danger of becoming the victim of another act of dating violence, or any person who has reasonable cause to believe he or she is in imminent danger of becoming the victim of an act of dating violence, or the parent or legal guardian of any minor child who is living at home and who seeks an injunction for protection against dating violence on behalf of that minor child, has standing in the circuit court to file a restraining order against the accused dating violence abuser.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures and the CDC:

Approximately 10 percent of all high school students report experiencing physical dating violence in the previous 12 months, and approximately 10 percent report experiencing sexual dating violence in the previous 12 months, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The same CDC survey also found that among students who dated, 21 percent of female students and 10 percent of male students experienced physicial and/or sexual violence.

Unhealthy relationships during the teen years can disrupt normal development and contribute to other unhealthy behaviors in teens that can lead to problems over a lifetime. Teens who experience dating violence are more likely to experience depression and anxiety, engage in unhealthy behaviors such as experimenting with tobacco, drugs and alcohol, and have thoughts about suicide, according to the CDC. The mental and physical health consequences can extend into adulthood, and unhealthy relationships in adolescence also can create a cycle of abusive relationships.

Break The Cycle Organization Lists the Following…

Warning Signs:

Being able to tell the difference between healthy, unhealthy and abusive relationships can be more difficult than you would think. No two relationships are the same, so what’s unhealthy in one relationship may be abusive in another.

Although there are many signs to pay attention to in a relationship, look for these common warning signs of dating abuse:

  • Checking cell phones, emails or social networks without permission
  • Extreme jealousy or insecurity
  • Constant belittling or put-downs
  • Explosive temper
  • Isolation from family and friends
  • Making false accusations
  • Constant mood swings towards you
  • Physically inflicting pain or hurt in any way
  • Possessiveness
  • Telling someone what to do
  • Repeatedly pressuring someone to have sex

TOO BE CONTINUED!

IF YOU OR YOU KNOW OF SOMEONE WHO NEEDS EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE CALL 911! 

Florida Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-500-1119 or TDD (800) 621-4202

Southwest Florida:

  • ACT-Abuse Counseling & Treatment, Inc.
  • 24-Hour Hotline 239-939-3112
  • Emergency Shelter 239-939-3112

Teen Dating Abuse Helpline: 1-866-331-9474
National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673
Trevor Lifeline (for LGBTQ* youth): 1-866-488-7386
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
National Runaway Safeline: 1-800-786-2929
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233