Did You Know…

One in 10 high school students has experienced physical violence from a dating partner in the past year.

Dating Abuse

Safe and Healthy Relationships

Your son or daughter is growing up. They’ve gone through elementary school, moved on into middle or high school, and they’ve fallen in love.

Holding hands in the hallway, kissing for the first time – these are some of the sweeter aspects of those relationships. But there can be darker sides as well.

Abusive behavior can range from demanding that the victim be home to receive a call at a certain time, to date rape.

Forty percent of teenage girls aged 14 to 17 say they know someone their age who has been hit or beaten by a boyfriend, according to the Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence. And while most victims are girls, boys can also find themselves abused in a relationship.

The world has become a turbulent, difficult place for many teens. Protect your child. Be alert and aware, and keep track of what’s going on in their world.

In an emergency, who should I call?

In an emergency, always call 911.  Even if you are feeling threatened but you haven’t been attacked, it is still ok to call 911.

Additional Resources

An article with further information about abusive relationships.

Liz Claiborne, Inc. has a good range of information on preventing domestic violence, including A Parents Guide to Teen Dating Violence.

TEAR (Teens Experiencing Abusive Relationships), founded and run exclusively by teens, is another good resource.

Signs of Dating Abuse

--Tears, depression, other signs of emotional distress
--An unusual number of phone calls, emails or texts
--Increased signs of anxiety or fear
--School grades fall
--Obvious injuries including bruises or hearing loss, and your child putting them down to “being clumsy”
--Isolation, unusual quietness
--Clothing covering as much of their body as possible (turtlenecks, long sleeves, long pants) even in summer; heavy makeup

Could My Child Be An Abuser?
--Calling/emailing/texting the victim repeatedly.
--Blaming others for problems, especially the victim.
--Abusive behavior; bullying, verbal abuse, disrespect, demeaning behavior toward others.
--Showing defensive injuries such as scratch marks.

Where Can I Get Help?

You have plenty of options now that you are seeking help. You can seek advice and help either from an organization or by calling one of various helping hotlines.

1-800-799-7233
This is the number for the National Domestic Violence hotline. It operates 24/7 and is completely confidential.

1-888-988-TEEN
This is the number for Break the Cycle. It operates 1-4 pm PST (which is 4-7 in New York State). Break the Cycle offers advice, referrals, legal information, advocacy and counsel to people, ages 12 to 24.

1-800-TLC-TEEN
This hotline is run by Teen Line, an organization run by teens for teens. If you need help and want to talk to another teenager, someone who understands, this line is open from 6pm-10pm PST (which is 9pm-1am in New York State) every night.