U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

In Focus: Teen Dating Violence


Unhealthy relationships can start early and last a lifetime.

Teens often think some behaviors, like teasing and name calling, are a "normal" part of a relationship. However, these behaviors can become abusive and develop into more serious forms of violence.

Examples of teen dating violence include physical and emotional harm, as well as stalking. Teen dating violence can occur between current or former dating partners, in person or electronically.

The effects of teen dating violence can last long into adulthood. Research has shown that youth victims are more likely to experience symptoms of depression and anxiety; engage in unhealthy behaviors; or exhibit antisocial behaviors and think about suicide.

Additionally, once teens experience violence in one relationship, they are at significant risk for experiencing violence in another relationship.

It is important that teens who experience dating violence seek help. It is also critical that teachers, parents, coaches or others in a teen's life maintain awareness and take action to get help when it occurs.

During Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (February), see the Teen Dating Violence Special Feature for information and resources.


Building Healthy Teen Relationships: An Evaluation of a Dating Violence Prevention Program with Middle School Students

A National Survey Shines a Light on the Nature and Scope of Teen Dating Violence

Understanding Teen Dating Violence

More Publications

Related Resources

Dating Matters®: Strategies to Promote Healthy Teen Relationships

National Dating Abuse Helpline

NIJ: Teen Dating Violence

OVC: Teen Dating Violence

More Related Resources

Date Created: August 17, 2020

Did You Know?

Are resources available to help teens in abusive relationships?
If you are a teen in an abusive relationship or are concerned about someone's safety, please contact ... Read More

What is dating violence?
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) defines dating violence as violence committed by a person... Read More

More Q & A