What is Teen Dating Violence (TDV)?

Teen dating violence (TDV) is a pattern of behavior that includes physical, emotional, verbal or sexual abuse used by one person in an intimate relationship to exert power and control over another.

TDV is generally defined as occurring among individuals between the ages of 13-19 years old. Like intimate partner violence among adults, TDV occurs without respect to age, race, religion, socioeconomic status and sexual orientation.
 

What does Teen Dating Violence look like?

Approximately 25 percent of teens report experiencing TDV annually (Noonan & Charles, 2009). It can include emotional, verbal, physical and/or sexual abuse. In most cases of TDV, violence is used to get another to do what he/she wants, to gain power and control, to cause humiliation and to promote fear, and to retaliate against a partner (Foshee & Langwick, 2010).
 

How does Teen Dating Violence differ from Adult Intimate Partner Violence?

An article published by the National Institute of Justice discusses current research on TDV and concludes that there are three key differences between adult and teen dating relationships:

  • Abusive teen relationships typically lack the same unequal power dynamic found in adult intimate partner violence relationships. Adolescent girls are not often dependent on their partner for financial support and do not typically have children to provide for and protect.
  • Teens have limited experience with romantic relationships and negotiating conflict.
  • Teen relationships are more readily affected by the influence of peers.

Because the dynamics of intimate partner abuse are different in adolescent and adult relationships, it is important not to apply an adult framework of intimate partner violence to teen dating violence.

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