Similar numbers of both sexes say they've been abusers.Additional new research shows teens who abuse their girlfriends and boyfriends often share a past as middle-school bullies.Despite the widespread occurrence of dating violence and its devastating consequences, research indicates many administrators, teachers, public safety officers and counselors don’t know how to properly address the issue. Ninety percent said there had been no staff training in the previous two years on the topic even though 61% had counseled victims of dating violence in the past two years.“The vast majority of schools don’t have a protocol to respond to an incident of dating abuse,” says Jagidsh Khubchandani, who is an assistant professor of community health at Ball State University and author of the study.
Researchers and educators eager to stop violent patterns early — and reduce abuse not only among teens but among the adults they will become — already are testing programs that teach younger children and teens how to have healthier relationships.
While it's possible that dating violence could cause thoughts of suicide, it's also possible that children who are depressed are more likely than others to fall into abusive relationships, says Adiaha Spinks-Franklin, a developmental and behavioral pediatrician at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston who was not involved in the new study.
Assaults by romantic partners often aren't isolated events.
Boys and girls who have been victims of dating violence are more likely to get into fights, carry a weapon, use alcohol, use marijuana or cocaine and have sex with multiple partners the study says.
Researchers don't know if any of these events causes the others, however.
Authors of the new report note that the CDC has changed the way it phrases its questions about teen dating violence, leading more students to report assaults.