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Dating Abuse Fact Sheet

Physical dating violence among high school students — United States, 2003

Dating abuse is defined as the physical, sexual, or psychological/emotional violence within a dating relationship. Each year, 1 in 11 adolescents reports being a victim of physical dating abuse (CDC 2006). Many of these cases can be prevented by helping adolescents develop skills for healthy relationships with others.

Dating Abuse Statistics

Adolescents and adults are often unaware how regularly dating abuse occurs.

  • 1 in 11 adolescents reports being a victim of physical dating abuse (CDC 2006).
  • 1 in 4 adolescents reports verbal, physical, emotional, or sexual abuse each year.
  • 1 in 5 adolescents reports being a victim of emotional abuse
  • 1 in 5 high school girls has been physically or sexually abused by a dating partner.
  • Dating abuse occurs more frequently among black students (13.9%) than among Hispanic (9.3%) or white (7.0%) students (CDC 2006).
  • 72% of eighth and ninth graders reportedly “date”; by the time they are in high school, 54% of students report dating abuse among their peers.
  • Adolescents in Abusive Relationship Are at Risk for Health Problems

Adolescents and adults often don’t make the link between dating abuse and poor health.

  • 70% of girls and 52% of boys who are abused report an injury from an abusive relationship.
  • 8% of boys and 9% of girls have been to an emergency room for an injury received from a dating partner.
  • Victims of dating abuse are not only at increased risk for injury, they are also more likely to engage in binge drinking, suicide attempts, physical fights, and currently sexual activity (CDC 2006).
  • Rates of drug, alcohol, and tobacco use are more than twice as high in girls who report physical or sexual dating abuse than in girls who report no abuse.
  • Dating abuse is associated with unhealthy sexual behaviors that can lead to unintended pregnancy, sexually-transmitted diseases, and HIV infections .
  • Abusive dating experiences during adolescence may disrupt normal development of self-esteem and body image.
  • Adolescents in abusive relationships often carry these unhealthy patterns of abuse into future relationships.

Content Source: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Division of Violence Prevention

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