Press Release 2/10/09

Recognizing and Responding to Teen Dating Violence

Break the Cycle, the Nation's Leading Teen Dating Violence Prevention Organization, Identifies Warning Signs and Offers Advice

Los Angeles, CA (February 10, 2009) – One in three teens will experience some form of abuse in a relationship, two-thirds of them will never report it to anyone. A recent incident of dating abuse involving two high-profile teens illustrates that this epidemic cuts across all demographics and boundaries.

Break the Cycle, the nation’s leading teen dating violence prevention organization, promotes education and advocates for policy and legislative changes that will better protect the rights of teens nationwide. Break the Cycle’s online community The Safe Space, is the most comprehensive dating violence resource online--designed to help young people prevent, diagnose and escape unhealthy relationships. The Safe Space offers the following Warning Signs of Abuse and Safety Tips:

Warning Signs:

  • Extreme jealousy
  • Constant put-downs
  • Possessiveness or controlling behavior
  • Financial control
  • Regular false accusations
  • Isolation from friends and family

Safety Tips:

  • Inform someone you trust about where you are going and what you are doing.
  • Carry a cell phone and a list of emergency contact numbers at all times.
  • Avoid isolated places and try not to walk around alone.
  • Identify a safe place to go in case of emergency—like a friend’s house.
  • Call 911 if you are in immediate danger.

"Dating violence is not only dangerous but devastating to the long-term health and welfare of our nation’s youth," said Break the Cycle’s Executive Director, Marjorie Gilberg. "Fortunately, it can be prevented if we empower young people, who are forming their first relationships, to recognize the warning signs of abuse, understand healthy relationships and realize that some behaviors are not just wrong, they are illegal."

Statistics on Teen Domestic Violence

  • One in three teens will experience some form of dating violence.
  • Young women between the ages of 16 and 24 experience the highest per capita rates of intimate partner violence—nearly triple the overall average.
  • Studies indicate a high correlation between dating violence and other juvenile delinquent behavior. In fact, nearly 92% of girls who enter the correctional system report being victims of physical or sexual abuse.
  • Teen victims of domestic violence are substantially more likely than their classmates to bring guns or other weapons to school and three times as likely to be involved in a physical fight.
  • Abused girls are significantly more likely to get involved in other risky behaviors. They are 4 to 6 times more likely to get pregnant and 8 to 9 times more likely to have tried to commit suicide.