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Growing up is an amazing process. As young minds and bodies mature, teenagers begin to spend less time with their families and more time socializing with friends and dating. It is sad and frightening to know that these important adolescent experiences can also be dangerous.

  • Approximately 1 out of every 3 high school and college students has experienced sexual, physical, verbal or emotional violence in dating relationships.1
  • A study of over 1,000 high school students found that 45% of females and 43% of males reported being the recipient of violence from dating partners at least once.2
  • Estimates of the prevalence of teen dating violence range from 9% to 60% of all teens. Female teens cause more minor injuries than male teens, but are also likely to receive more significant physical injuries and are more likely to be sexually victimized.3
  • Girls were much more likely to be punched and to be forced to engage in sexual activity against their will. Boys, on the other hand, were significantly more likely to be pinched, slapped, scratched and kicked.2
  • In discussing violent dating relationships, female teens reported that males they dated initiated abuse 70% of the time, and males in the same study reported that females they dated initiated abuse 27% of the time.4
  • 89% of teenagers between 13 and 17 say they have been in a dating relationship.5


  1. Mitchell, Anita. (1996). “Teen Dating Violence.” Protecting Sexually Active Youth, Vol. 4(1), March, 1996.
  2. O’Keefe, M.; Trester, L. (1998). “Victims of Dating Violence Among High School Students.” Violence Against Women, 4(2): 195-223.
  3. Cohall, Alwyn; Cohall, Renee; Bannister, Hope; Northridge, Mary. (1999). “Love Shouldn’t Hurt: Strategies for Heath Care Providers to Address Adolescent Dating Violence.” Journal of the American Medical Women’s Association, 54(3), Summer 1999.
  4. Molidor, C.; Tolman, R.M. (1998). “Gender and Contextual Factors in Adolescent Dating Violence.” Violence Against Women, 4(2): 180-194.
  5. Children Now/Kaiser Permanente, 1995.

Mercer County Emergency Services Phone Numbers

Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault 24 Hour Hotline (609)394-9000

New Jersey Statewide Domestic Violence 24 Hour Hotline

(800) 572-SAFE (7233)

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