In a healthy relationship, both partners respect and trust one another and embrace each other’s differences. Both partners are able to communicate effectively their needs and listen to their partner, and work to resolve conflict in a rational and non-violent way. But maintaining a healthy relationship requires skills many young people are never taught. A lack of these skills, and growing up in a society that sometimes celebrates violence or in a community that experiences high rates of violence, can lead to unhealthy and even violent relationships among youth.
Dating violence includes psychological or emotional violence, such as controlling behaviors or jealousy; physical violence, such as hitting or punching; and sexual violence such as nonconsensual sexual activity and rape. Young people of every ethnicity, orientation, gender identity, and socioeconomic class can be victims and perpetrators of dating violence. More than 20 percent of all adolescents report having experienced either psychological or physical violence from an intimate partner - and underreporting remains a concern.1 Dating violence and abuse can lead to a wide array of negative health outcomes.
Adolescents, especially older adolescents, often have romantic relationships which are long-term, serious, and intimate. Society has a responsibility to provide young people with the resources, skills, and space necessary to safeguard their physical and emotional well being in these relationships. Youth-serving professionals, educators, and parents can help young people in need access services to address dating abuse victimization. Research also has shown that programs intended to prevent dating violence can be successful.