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Dating Violence | Signs of Abuse, and Seeking Help
Dating Violence

  • Some romantic relationships turn violent.
  • Dating violence has become a national epidemic. 

  • Breakup Violence between Teens.   When that relationship ends, it is the most volatile time in a relationship.  That is when there is an uncontrollable surge of anger which can lead to verbal and physical abuse, and in some cases death. 

    Today, the pain is greatly increased,
    because the breakup is on social media, and everyone knows about it.  It is not merely a private matter any more. 

    One in 3 teens and young adults
    is the victim of some sort of abuse - physical, verbal, emotional or sexual.  The most volatile time in an adult or teen dating relationship is the breakup, when someone tries to leave. 
Young men need an outlet other than anger, to change this.   (48 Hours, CBS, "Breakup Violence between Teens," October 26, 2013)

Warning Signs of Dating Violence:
  • The victim becomes more isolated from friends and family, as the abuser gains more control.
  • The victim becomes on edge, highly nervous and irritable.

  • The abuser maintains contact with the victim via phone and messaging, as the extremely jealous abuser needs to constantly know what the victim is doing and who they are with. 

What Victims need to Know:
  • Dating violence happens often—you are not alone.

  • Dating violence is nothing to be ashamed of. 
  • Victims need professional help.  Most family and friends are not equipped to deal with these dangerous situations.

  • There are no one-size-fits-all solutions.

  • Spokane has shelters where you can go to get help for yourself, your family or a friend.

  • Spokane has professionals who can protect you, and help you get out of a dangerous relationship.

Reasons People are Reluctant to Help:
  • It’s none of my business.

  • There’s really nothing I can do.

  • It only happens when he’s drunk.

  • I’m sure it’s not that bad.

  • If I step in I will lose them both as friends. 

  • One in five female high school students reports being physically and/or sexually abused by a dating partner.  (source:  Intimate Partner Violence, Facts & Resources, American Psychological Association, 2018)
  • Victims stay in the relationship for fear of leaving, embarrassment, shame…so they keep the violent relationship a secret.    
  • If a man chokes his partner, she is 5 times more likely to be killed by him at some point.  This is a potentially lethal act—a sign of real danger.   (Dr. Jacquelyn Campbell, Professor at Johns Hopkins University and a national expert on dating violence)

  • Approximately 1 in 5 female high school students report being physically and/or sexually abused by a dating partner.   Jay G. Silverman, PhD; Anita Raj, PhD; Lorelei A. Mucci, MPH; and Jeanne E. Hathaway, MD, MPH, “Dating Violence Against Adolescent Girls and Associated Substance Use, Unhealthy Weight Control, Sexual Risk Behavior, Pregnancy, and Suicidality,” Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol. 286, (No. 5, 2001).
  • Females ages 16-24 are more vulnerable to intimate partner violence than any other age group – at a rate almost triple the national average.   U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Special Report: Intimate Partner Violence and Age of Victim, 1993-99 (Oct. 2001, rev. 11/28/01).
  • Half of the reported date rapes occur among teenagers.  
    (California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CALCASA) 2002 Report: Research on Rape and Violence)
  • Intimate partner violence among adolescents is associated with increased risk of substance use, unhealthy weight control behaviors, sexual risk behaviors, pregnancy, and suicide.   Molidor, Tolman, & Kober, (2000); National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, (2001).

  • A majority of parents (54%) admit they have not spoken to their child about dating violence.   Empower Program, sponsored by Liz Claiborne Inc. and conducted by Knowledge Networks, Social Control, Verbal Abuse, and Violence Among Teenagers, (2000).

  • 57% of teens know someone who has been physically, sexually, or verbally abusive in a dating relationship.  Liz Claiborne Inc., Conducted by Teenage Research Unlimited, (February 2005).

  • College-age girls from age 18-24 usually experience dating violence for the first time.  Students are also likely to drink a lot, which makes all problems worse. 

  • 83% of 10th graders reported that they would sooner turn to a friend for help with dating abuse than to a teacher, counselor, parent or other caring adult.  These teens were surveyed at the 4th Annual Teen Dating Abuse Summit.   The Northern Westchester Shelter, with Pace Women’s Justice Center, (April 2003).
  • Only 33% of teens who were in an abusive relationship ever told anyone about the abuse.   Liz Claiborne Inc., Conducted by Teenage Research Unlimited, (February 2005).

  • 50% of youth reporting both dating violence and rape also reported attempting suicide, compared to 12.5% of non-abused girls and 5.4% of non-abused boys.   D. M. Ackard, Minneapolis, MN, and D. Neumark-Sztainer, Division of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, “Date Violence and Date Rape Among Adolescents: Associations with Disordered Eating Behaviors and Psychological Health,” Child Abuse & Neglect, 26 455-473, (2002).
  • Females ages 16-24 are more vulnerable to intimate partner violence than any other age group– at a rate almost triple the national average.   U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Special Report: Intimate Partner Violence and Age of Victim, 1993-99 (Oct. 2001, rev. 11/28/01).
  • 58% of rape victims report being raped between the ages of 12-24.   Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Maternal and Child Health Bureau, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), (2002).

  • More than half of both prison and jail inmates serving time for violence against an intimate partner were using drugs, alcohol or both at the time of the incident for which they were incarcerated.   U.S. Department of Justice, http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/pub/press/vi.pr, (1998). (Last visited 9/04.)
  • Patterns of dating violence behavior often start early and carry through into adult relationships.   V.A. Forshee et Al, Health Education Research, 11(3), 275-286, (1996).
  • Nearly one-half of adult sex offenders report committing their first sexual offenses prior to the age of 18.   Ron Snipe, et Al, “Recidivism in Young Adulthood, Adolescent Sexual Offenders Grown Up,” 25 Criminal Justice & Behavior, 109, 117, (1998).
  • Violent relationships in adolescence can have serious ramifications for victims:  Many will continue to be abused in their adult relationships and are at a higher risk for substance abuse, eating disorders, risky sexual behavior, and suicide.   Jay G. Silverman PhD, et Al, “Dating Violence Against Adolescent Girls and Associated Substance Use, Unhealthy Weight Control,Sexual Risk Behavior, Pregnancy, and Suicidality.” Journal of the American Medical Association, (2001).
The source of most of the information on this page is: 
“Dating Violence,” Katie, ABC, September 20, 2012
What You Can Do
  • Encourage schools to teach about dating and domestic violence in the health curriculum.

  • Parents, friends and family members can discuss this topic, agreeing to help one another. 
  • If you, or someone you know, is being abused:

    • Tell someone!  It is your business, and you can help the victim get out of an abusive relationship.  Tell a parent, teacher, counselor, law enforcement...tell someone! 

    • Call 911 if the danger is immediate.

    • Call Crime Check if there is no immediate danger.
Local Organizations
Additional Resources

911                 Emergency - crime in progress; you are in danger

456-2233       Crime Check - not an emergency

477-2240       Spokane County Sheriff

Contact:        School Counselor
                       School Resource Officer 

National Adolescent Dating hotline:


National Dating Abuse Helpline

National Domestic Violence hotline:
1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

One Love Foundation
Learn how to assess the actual danger of Dating Violence.