Community Issues

Wake Up Call: Study Shows the Dangers of Teen Dating Violence

Girls make up 90 percent of adolescent homicide victims in incidents that stem from romantic relationships. Here are the warning signs you need to look for.

A troubling new study points to the dangers of dating violence for teenage girls.

While dating violence and domestic assault is typically associated with adults, the study published in JAMA Pediatrics found that 7 percent of homicides of young people from 2003 to 2016 were committed by current or former intimate partners. In 90 percent of those cases, girls were the victims.

"While the dynamics of these relationships may be quite different than among adults, this is a public health issue we need to take seriously," Avanti Adhi, the study's lead author, told the New York Times .

The study found that firearms, specifically handguns, were the most common weapon used in intimate partner homicides and assaults.

While unhealthy relationships ending in death are extreme cases, data suggests that abuse is shockingly common in teen dating. A 2016 study found that 60 percent of adolescents who date adolescents said they had experienced physical, sexual or psychological abuse from a partner. According to the most recent study, more than 25 percent of girls will experience physical violence, sexual violence or stalking by the time they reach 18. Researchers say that these dangerous situations can have effects that last long into adulthood, including mental illness, substance abuse and suicidal thoughts.

The study underscores the importance of parents, family and friends monitoring teen relationships, even if they appear casual or not serious. According to Break the Cycle, warning signs for teen dating violence include :

  • Checking cell phones, emails or social networks without permission
  • Extreme jealousy or insecurity
  • Isolation from family and friends
  • Any sort of physical pain or controlling behavior
  • Pressuring someone to have sex

The study found that a number of factors can perpetuate violent relationships in teens. Often victims lack a support system, particularly if there is a history of abuse in their family. The study also suggests that all states should adopt laws that allow children to file for civil protection orders without parental consent.

You can click here to read the full study .

If you or a loved one are in an unhealthy or violent relationship, you can click here or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1.800.799.7233 . If you are in immediate danger, call 911.

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