Violence Against Young Women and Girls

Each year, 1 in 10 American teenagers suffers physical violence at the hands of a boyfriend or girlfriend, and many others are sexually or emotionally abused. Dating violence can inflict long‑lasting pain, putting survivors at increased risk of substance abuse, depression, poor academic performance, and experiencing further violence from a partner.  During National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month, we renew our commitment to preventing abuse, supporting survivors, holding offenders accountable, and building a culture of respect.

Although girls and young women ages 16 to 24 are at the highest risk, dating violence can affect anyone. That is why everyone must learn the risk factors and warning signs.  While healthy relationships are built on fairness, equality, and respect, dating violence often involves a pattern of destructive behaviors used to exert power and control over a partner.  It can include constantly monitoring, isolating, or insulting a partner; extreme jealousy, insecurity, or possessiveness; or any type of physical violence or unwanted sexual contact.  If you, a friend, or a loved one, is in an abusive relationship, the National Dating Abuse Helpline will offer immediate and confidential support.  To contact the Helpline, call 1‑866‑331‑9474, text "loveis" to 22522, or visit  For more information on dating violence, please visit

Each of us can play a role in ending dating violence ‑‑ in our schools, our homes, our neighborhoods, and our dormitories.

Below is a list of resources.

Dating Violence Resources

If you are having an emergency, please call 911. If you have been abused and need help, please reach out to the Dating Abuse Helpline by phone call (1-866-331-9474), text (text "loveis" to 77054) or online chat.

Events and Initiatives

  • Events: February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. To find the latest webinars and events during this month and other months during the year.
  • Dating Matters®: Strategies to Promote Healthy Teen Relationships: This initiative aims to promote respectful, nonviolent dating relationships among youth in high-risk urban communities. For more information on the communities participating in Dating Matters, visit here.
  • Start Strong: Focused on preventing teen dating violence and abuse by teaching 11- to- 14-year-olds about healthy relationships. This innovative approach to prevention is rallying entire communities to promote healthy relationships and prevent teen dating violence in middle schools.

Latest Research

  • CDC's National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS): On December 14, 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS) 2010 Summary Report.  The findings show that, on average, 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States.  Over the course of a year, that equals more than 12 million women and men. Those numbers only tell part of the story –1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men have been raped in their lifetimes, the vast majority before the age of 25.These findings demonstrate that sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner violence are important and widespread public health problems in the United States.  The report underscores the heavy toll of this violence, particularly on women; the immediate impacts of victimization; and the lifelong health consequences of these forms of violence.
  • Shifting Boundaries: A Summary of Findings from a National Institute of Justice Experimental Evaluation of a Youth Dating Violence Prevention Program in New York City Middle Schools: The National Institute of Justice has released a study by Bruce Taylor, Ph.D., Nan D. Stein, Ed.D., Dan Woods, Ph.D., Elizabeth Mumford, Ph.D., which examines the impact of a dating violence prevention program for middle school students in a large urban school district.  Researchers concluded that a comprehensive school program was effective in reducing dating violence and sexual harassment.

Policy: Violence Against Women Act

While tremendous progress has been made since the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was first enacted, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking are still significant problems facing women, families, and communities.The new VAWA bill signed into law by President Obama March 7, 2013 will continue effective programs, make targeted expansions to address the needs of especially vulnerable populations, and help prevent violence in future generations.

Teens/Young Adults