Teens and Youth

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1 in 11 adolescents reports being a victim of physical violence in a dating relationship and research shows that females aged 16-19 are four times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault. Dating violence and sexual assault are impacting our youth at alarming rates.

Unfortunately teens are more likely than adults to be confused about appropriate behavior in their intimate relationships, often minimizing physical and emotional violence, and confusing jealousy and possessiveness with expressions of love.

Warning Signs

It can be difficult to determine whether a young person is experiencing dating violence. These warning signs can be a starting point for deeper discussions about teen dating violence and healthy relationships.

  • Partner is jealous and controls her/his actions.
  • Partner isolates her/him from friends and family.
  • Partner hits, punches, kicks, or tackles the teen. Playful violence can often mask tendencies toward abuse.
  • Partner tells offensive or demeaning jokes.
  • Partner gets mad when she/he can't spend time with her/him
  • Partner blames her/him for their feelings, actions, or behaviors.
  • Partner has history of violent, controlling, or cruel behavior.
  • Partner abuses alcohol or drugs and forces her/him to take them.
  • Partner does not care about the survivors thoughts or feelings
  • Partner minimizes their abusive behavior.
  • Partner tries to control what the survivor wears or makes demeaning comments about their body.
  • Partner makes all the decisions in the relationship.
  • Partner uses gossip or the threat of gossip to control the survivor or makes threats to damage their reputation.
  • Partner forces sex or forces the survivor to participate in sexual activities that she/he is uncomfortable with.


  • In a study of eighth and ninth graders, 25% indicated that they had been victims of dating violence, including eight percent who disclosed being sexually abused. (American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 1996)
  • Among female students between the ages of 15-20 who reported at least one violent act during a dating relationship, 24% reported experiencing extremely violent incidents such as rape or the use of weapons against them (Journal of child & adolescent pediatric nursing. 1994)
  • In a survey of 232 high school girls, 17.8% indicated that they had been forced to engage in sexual activity against their will by a dating partner. (Child & Adolescent Social Work Journal, 1996)
  • 55% of female students and 75% of male students involved in acquaintance rape admit to having been drinking or using drugs when the incident occurred. (TeachingDegree, 2012)
  • Over the course of an average 5-year college career, between 20 and 25% of women students are raped. Fewer than 5 in 100 rapes are reported. (US department of Justice)

OCADSV resources

Healthy Teen Relationship Act - Advocate Toolkit

The purpose of the Toolkit is to support the work of advocates in preventing domestic and sexual violence. Part A describes strategies for collaborating with school districts and Part B lists a variety of resource materials. These include model curricula, resources for prevention of teen-dating violence and additional resources for capacity-building and support.

Healthy Teen Relationship Act - Local School District Toolkit

Teen PCAR (Pennsylvania Coalition Against Sexual Assault)

My Strength Campaign (CALCASA)

Girl’s Health


This page was last updated on Tuesday, October 14, 2014 - 10:30am.

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