When it comes to teens dating, many parents and guardians worry about things like their teen’s emotions or heartbreak, staying out too late, losing focus and falling behind at school, sexual activity, STDs, or teen pregnancy. And while all of those are worthy of concern for a caring parent, many do not stop to consider another big issue facing teens: Teen Dating Violence.
According to information provided by loveisrespect.org, a survey found that 81% of parents believe teen dating violence is not an issue or admit they don’t know if it’s an issue. And though 82% of parents feel confident that they could recognize the signs if their child was experiencing dating abuse, a majority of parents (58%) could not correctly identify all the warning signs of abuse.
This is troubling considering the problem of abusive romantic relationships between teens problem is a prevalent issue.
1 in 3 high school students experience physical or sexual violence, or both, by someone they are dating
10% of adolescents report being the victim of physical violence at the hands of an intimate partner during the previous year
Girls and young women between the ages of 16 and 24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence — almost triple the national (US) average
Among female victims of intimate partner violence, 94% of those age 16-19 and 70% of those age 20-24 were victimized by a current or former boyfriend or girlfriend
Violent behavior typically begins between the ages of 12 and 18
To learn more about Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, visit:
In spite of these statistics, there are inconsistent requirements and delivery mechanisms in school curriculums across the United States. Analysis by TODAY found that, “at least nine states require a mental health curriculum by law. At least 20 states and the District of Columbia include mental health in their health or education standards…More than a dozen states appear not to require mental health education or incorporate it into their standards.”
Education for students specifically about suicide and suicide prevention, including warning sign recognition and how to seek assistance for themselves or their friends, is even more scarce.
In the absence of consistent and nationwide coverage on these issues provided by schools, individuals and mental health advocacy groups are pushing for change through petitions and other forms of activism. One such petition by Joseph Marques of Taunton, MA who is a member of the American Association of Suicidology (AAS), makes note that COVID-19 is only further complicating and increasing the need for good mental health and suicide prevention education. You can read that petition here.
Further reading about mental health and suicide prevention in school can be found at these resources: