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Teen Relationship Violence

Domestic violence has a profound impact on children as they mature into adolescence and adulthood. The verbal and physical violence they see at home is nurtured into their psyche as "normal" behavioral responses in a relationship. Exposure to domestic violence can manifest itself in young people along the spectrum from verbal abuse to disturbing obsessive behavior, to actual physical abuse, to even murder or suicide.

According to the CDC, "teen relationship violence is defined as the physical, sexual, psychological, or emotional violence within a dating relationship, including stalking. It can occur in person or electronically and might occur between a current or former dating partner. The CDC reports that 22% of women first experience some form of partner violence when they are between the ages of 11 and 17.

Especially among teen girls who experience their "first love" they may ignore or be willing to accept abusive behavior out of fear of losing their partner. This is seen even among many adult women who suffer abuse who feel there is no way out.

"There are plenty of ways to get help and it begins with talking with someone such as a parent, teacher, school counselor, or school resource officer," offers expert Joseph Kolb, author of Teen Violence in America.

It all begins with education for potential victims as well as abusers to understand this is not normal or acceptable behavior. This should include strategies to address anger management, post-traumatic stress disorder, coping skills, and communication skills with the full understanding there are resources available to help both parties before it is too late.

Teenagers can always speak to and report child abuse or neglect, please contact Child Help USA at 1.800.4 A Child (1.800.422.4453) or see our list of State child abuse and neglect reporting numbers.


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