Dating Abuse Fact Sheet


How serious is the problem of dating abuse?

  • In the U.S. alone, approximately 1 in 3 adolescent girls (estimates up to 35%) is a victim of interpersonal violence.1,2,3
  • 80% of teens say they know someone who has been controlled by a partner, and 60% know someone who has been physically abused. 29% of teens say that they themselves have been physically abused by a dating partner, and 54% report some form of abuse – yet only 37% of parents are aware that their child has been abused in some way.4
  • 47% of 13-18 year olds who have been in relationships reported that they have personally been victimized by controlling behaviors from a boyfriend or girlfriend.4
  • Dating violence can have a negative effect on health throughout life. Teens who are victims are more likely to be depressed and do poorly in school.5 They may engage in unhealthy behaviors, like using drugs and alcohol5, and are more likely to have eating disorders.6 Some teens even think about or attempt suicide.7 Teens who are victims in high school are at higher risk for victimization during college.8
  • 1 in 4 teens who have been in a serious relationship say their boyfriend or girlfriend has tried to prevent them from spending time with friends or family; the same number have been pressured to only spend time with their partner.9
  • Almost one-third of girls who have been in a relationship (29%) said they’ve been pressured to have sex or to engage in sexual acts when they didn’t want to do so.9
  • Nearly 80% of females reported experiencing at least one incident of physical or sexual aggression by the end of college.10
  • 49% of males (high school to 4th year in college) report using at least one incident of physical or sexual violence against an intimate partner.11

  1. Bonomi, A., & Kelleher, K. (2007). Dating violence, sexual assault, and suicide attempts among minority adolescents. Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine. 161(6). 609-610.
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2006). Physical dating violence among high school students-United States, 2003. MMWR Weekly. May 19, 2006. 55(19); 532-535.
  3. Marcus, R. (2005). Youth violence in everyday life. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. 20, 442-447.
  4. Impact of the Economy and Parent/Teen Dialogue on Dating Relationships and Abuse. Liz Claiborne, Inc. 2009.
  5. Banyard VL & Cross C. Consequences of teen dating violence: Understanding intervening variables in ecological context. Violence Against Women. 2008:14(9):998-1013.
  6. Ackard DM & Neumark-Sztainer D, Date violence and date rape among adolescents: Associations with disordered eating behaviors and psychological health. Child Abuse and Neglect. 2002:26:455-473.
  7. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Physical Dating Violence Among High School Students—United States, 2003. MMWR 2006:55:532-535.
  8. Smith PH, White JW, Holland LJ. A longitudinal perspective on dating violence among adolescent and college-age women. American Journal of Public Health. 2003;93(7):1104–9.
  9. Liz Claiborne Inc. Topline Findings Teen Relationship Abuse Survey (Conducted March 2006)
  10. White, Jacquelyn and Paige Hall Smith. “Covariation in the Use of Physical and Sexual Intimate Partner Aggression Among Adolescent and College-Age Men: A Longitudinal Analysis.” Violence Against Women. 2009.
  11. Ibid