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Womens Center & Shelter

Teen Dating Violence: What does it look like?


Teen relationships may differ from adult relationships but that doesn’t mean that teens don’t experience the same types of physical (hitting, pinching, biting, shoving, etc.), verbal (threats, insults, put downs, name calling, etc.), sexual (restricting birth control, inability to control one’s sexual activity, etc.), and emotional abuse (humiliation, isolation, stalking or monitoring, etc.) that adults do. Any teen or young adult can experience violence in these ways or experience unhealthy behaviors in their relationships.

Teen dating violence may also involve peer pressure (such as threatening to expose rumors or lies to a peer group), using one’s social status (such as treating/controlling the person like a servant), using intimidation (such as making someone afraid by use of gestures or looks), making threats (such as threatening to hurt others or to harm themselves), and sexual coercion (such as getting someone drunk or drugging them to engage in sexual activity).1

More details concerning these types of teen violence can be viewed on the Teen Power & Control Wheel provided by through This site also connects to example videos and tips on how to handle the situation for yourself or a friend.2

Teens also experience digital abuse which involves the use of social media, phones, or other technology to harass, threaten, or intimidate a partner or ex-dating partner. This may look like a dating partner requesting passwords, sexting or sending images of the partner to other people, sending threatening texts or messages on Twitter, Facebook, or other social media sites, and also could involve constantly needing to check the person’s cell phone or social accounts to know what they are doing or whom they are talking to at all times.

It is reported that one in three teens and young adults experience some form of dating abuse. 1 Any type of violence should be taken seriously in any relationship. If you believe you or a friend could be experiencing teen dating violence the following resources may be helpful for you.

  • Women’s Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh has a 24-Hour Hotline to call for emotional support: 412-687-8005 or toll-free at 1-877-338-8255
  • Women’s Center & Shelter’s website 
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233
  • Love Is is a website with teen dating violence information; they also have a hotline to call: 1-866-331-9474 or they provide the option to chat live to an advocate from their website.
  • 3 E Now: is a website with teen dating violence statistics and information specific to dating violence. They can be contacted at: 412-719-5630
  • Break the is a website specific to teen dating violence that shares statistics and different tools and information that can be helpful.

A survey reported that 81% of parents either believe teen dating violence is not an issue or admit they don’t know if it’s an issue 3. Even if you don’t suspect dating violence is happening, knowing information may be helpful to start an important conversation with your teen just to be safe.

3 “Women’s Health,” June/July 2004, Family Violence Prevention Fund and Advocates for Youth. Retrieved from

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