For Young People

Dating AbuseTeen-Friends

Dating abuse is a pattern of behaviors that someone uses to control an intimate partner—where they go, what they do, who they see, or what they wear.

It can be:

  • Physical – Hitting, kicking, restraining, grabbing, or pushing.
  • Emotional and Mental – Constantly accusing you of cheating or keeping you from seeing your family or friends.
  • Verbal – Calling you names, putting you down, or making you feel bad about yourself.
  • Sexual – Forcing you to do something you don’t want to do or making sexual jokes about you.

It can be in person or through the use of technology—unwanted emails, texts, or phone calls. Technology is too often used in cases of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and trafficking.

It can happen to anyone—people of any age, race, gender identity, or religion. It can happen when people are together and after they’ve broken up. It happens in heterosexual and LGBTQ+ relationships. Anyone of any background can abuse a partner.

One in three young people report knowing a friend or peer who has been hit, punched, kicked, slapped, choked, or physically hurt by a romantic partner. And 80% of young people regard verbal abuse as a “serious issue.” That means you probably know someone who is being abused in their relationship. And, since 73% of teens surveyed said they’d turn to a friend for help, maybe that friend could be you.

How can I get help for myself or a friend?

If you are affected by dating abuse, we can help. If you’re a friend, family member, parent, or teacher and you’re concerned about someone you know, we can help you too. Call our free helpline at 1.800.863.9909.

We will:

  • Listen to you and not judge.
  • Offer support for your feelings and information about your choices.
  • Explore your situation and answer any questions you may have.
  • Help you plan for safety in school and at home.
  • Talk with you about how to be helpful to someone you care about.
  • Keep your information confidential.

If you’re more comfortable talking to someone in person at our office or at your school, just contact us or call our helpline to schedule a time to meet. Your guidance counselor or a teacher can also help you get in touch with us.

Youth Resources

National Teen Dating Abuse Hotline
The Safe Space
Choose Respect
Break The Cycle
National Domestic Violence Hotline
Silent Witness Initiative
Safe Space Radio LGBTQ special

Related Documents

Youth Power and Control Wheel
Youth Equality Wheel