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Break the Cycle
National & Los Angeles Office
5200 W. Century Blvd. Suite 300
Los Angeles, CA 90045

Break the Cycle
Washington D.C. Office
P.O. Box 21034
Washington, D.C. 20009

About Abuse

About Teen Dating Violence

Teen dating violence is a pattern of physically, sexually, verbally and/or emotionally abusive behavior in a dating relationship. Teen dating violence is similar to domestic violence, however, teens face unique obstacles in recognizing and escaping abusive relationships.

Prevalence of Abuse Among Teens

Although often not recognized, young people experience abuse in their relationships at very high rates. Adolescents are particularly susceptible to becoming trapped in the cycle of violence. No longer children but not yet adults, teenagers are beginning to form their first intimate relationships, yet often do not have the experience, confidence or information to know what is healthy or unhealthy in a relationship.

Obstacles to Teen Victims Seeking Help

Teen victims face many obstacles to seeking help. They often do not have access to:

They must overcome issues such as

Confusion about the law adds another layer of difficulty for young people in need. Often teens do not reach out for help because they do not know their rights. They also have fears about lack of confidentiality, mandated child abuse reporting and parental consent laws. In addition, social service agencies frequently do not provide services to minors because of concerns about legal liability.

The Facts

Left untreated, unhealthy, abusive patterns in a teen's relationship can carry into their adult lives, becoming increasingly difficult to change. Through prevention and early intervention services, teens can work toward ensuring safe and healthy futures.