Take Action Against Abuse - For Teens


  • 1 in 10 teens have been physically hurt on purpose by a boyfriend or girlfriend in the last year alone.
  • Over 11% of high school girls report having been physically forced to have sexual intercourse. [i]
  • Dating violence is a pattern of physical, sexual, verbal and/or emotional abuse in a dating relationship.

Warning Signs of Abuse

Warning signs of an abuser: 

  • Controlling behavior
  • Excessive or threatening contact through text messages, phone calls or other forms of communication
  • Obsessive jealousy
  • Physical violence such as hitting, slapping, punching, kicking, etc.
  • Put downs and name-calling
  • Sexual pressure

Warning signs of someone being abused: 

  • Making excuses for a partner’s bad behavior
  • Fear of a dating partner
  • Isolation from family and friends
  • Loss of interest in activities and hobbies that were once enjoyable
  • Noticeable changes in eating or sleeping patterns, or alcohol or drug use
  • Loss of self-confidence
  • Depression

How You Can Get Help

  • Contact the National Dating Abuse Hotline, where trained peer advocates can talk you through your situation and direct you toward appropriate resources.  You can reach the Dating Abuse Helpline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, by phone call (1-866-331-9474), text (text “loveis” to 22522) or online chat.
  • Reach out to a parent, trusted adult, or friend for support.
  • Consider creating a safety plan—a personalized, practical plan that can help you avoid dangerous situations and know the best way to react when you’re in danger.  For guides on safety planning, visit the loveisrespect website.
  • If you ever feel you're in immediate danger, call 911.

How You Can Help a Friend

  • Learn about dating violence and sexual assault, and educate others. 
  • If a friend is or has been abused, listen to their story without judging or blaming. 
  • Let your friend know you are there for them whenever they need to talk, and that you are worried about them.  Be specific about why you are concerned. 
  • Tell your friend that you want to help him or her talk to a parent/guardian or other trusted adult, and offer to go with your friend to talk to an adult.
  • Be a role model for healthy relationships.  Always treat others with respect and expect the same from others.
  • Join an organization that is working to end dating violence and sexual assault.  Don’t have one in your community? Start one!

For More Information

[i] Black, B. M., Tolman, R. M., Callahan, M., Saunders, D. G., & Weisz, A. N. (2008). When Will Adolescents Tell Someone About Dating Violence Victimization? Violence Against Women, 14(7), 741-758.