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Dating violence—being hit, slapped, or physically hurt by an intimate partner—can cause emotional and physical harm to both males and females,  though females are more likely to report physical injury. Adolescents who report being victims of dating violence are at increased risk for low self-esteem, and are more likely to report poor emotional well-being, suicidal thoughts and attempts, risky sexual behaviors, pregnancy, cigarette smoking, and disordered eating. A review of research on women’s use of violence with male intimate partners.
(Appendix 1) 2013 estimates for physical and sexual dating violence are available for high school students (grades 9-12), by gender, for selected states and cities, from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey System (YRBSS), Table 22. Through its initiative, the federal government has set a national goal to “reduce violence by current or former intimate partners,” with sub-goals to a) reduce physical violence by current or former intimate partners, b) reduce sexual violence by current or former intimate partners, c) reduce psychological abuse by current or former intimate partners, and d) reduce stalking by current or former intimate partners. See Child Trends’ LINKS database (“Lifecourse Interventions to Nurture Kids Successfully”), for reviews of many rigorously evaluated programs, including the following which have been shown to be effective: Prior to 2013, students were asked “During the past 12 months, did your boyfriend or girlfriend ever hit, slap, or physically hurt you on purpose?
” In 2013, the question was changed to “During the past 12 months, how many times did someone you were dating or going out with physically hurt you on purpose?
(Count such things as being hit, slammed into something, or injured with an object or weapon.)” Students who answered that they did not date in the past 12 months were excluded from the population for the proportion. Data for 2011: US Department of Health and Human Services. Youth risk behavior surveillance: United States 2011.
(Figure 2) The gender differences are greater when looking at dating violence that is sexual (including unwanted kissing, touching, or being physically forced to have sexual intercourse).
In 2013, 14 percent of high school females who dated reported sexual dating violence in the past year, compared with six percent of males. In 2013, white, black, and Hispanic students were equally likely to report physical dating violence).
(Figure 2) In 2013, ninth- and tenth- grade males were less likely to report being the victims of physical dating violence than twelfth-grade males (six percent, each, compared with ten percent).
There was no other significant differences by grade. Date violence and date rape among adolescents: associations with disordered eating behaviors and psychological health.
According to a recent survey of a large (though not nationally representative) sample of teens, “digital” abuse or harassment (using the Internet or cell phone technology) is experienced by many dating teens.
Moreover, adolescents who are victimized in these ways are much more likely to be physically or psychologically abused, or sexually coerced, by their dating partners.