Is Your Teen a Victim of Teen Relationship Abuse? How Can You Tell?
You may not think it, but teenagers could experience the same abuse that adults face. In fact, teen relationship abuse is more common than you may think.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, teen dating violence has a definition similar to domestic abuse — “the physical, sexual, psychological, or emotional violence within a dating relationship.” This can occur not only in person but also through the internet.
A 2011 CDC survey found that 23 percent of females and 14 percent of males who have experienced abuse by an intimate partner say that they first experienced some form of violence while in their teenage years. A few years later, a 2013 survey found that approximately 10 percent of high school students reported physical victimization and 10 percent had reported sexual victimization from a dating partner.
Effects of Teen Relationship Abuse
And the effects of teen relationship abuse can last a lifetime. Those involved in unhealthy and abusive relationships can experience the following:
- Symptoms of depression and anxiety
- May engage in unhealthy behaviors, such as drinking, taking drugs, or smoking
- Become antisocial
- Suicidal tendencies
These teens may also experience victimization in college and beyond.
The Signs of Teen Dating Violence
But how do you know if your teen is a victim? Like domestic violence, there are clear signs of violence. Here are a few of the most common ones.
- Physical Abuse: This is the most obvious. This includes unexplained bruises, cuts, sprains, or broken bones.
- Psychological/Emotional Abuse: This is a way to show dominance over a partner. It includes bullying, embarrassing on purpose, hurting someone’s feelings, or keeping him/her away from friends and family.
- Sexual Abuse: The partner forces the victim to have sex even if he/she doesn’t or can’t consent. The violence can be physical or something nonphysical like spreading rumors if he/she doesn’t consent to sex.
- Stalking: Harassing or threatening tactics that occur either in real life or online. An example of online harassment could be someone repeatedly texting the victim or posting scandalous material on social media.
It’s important for your teen to know that this type of behavior is not only unhealthy, but there is legal help in New Jersey. Although you cannot apply for a restraining order against a minor (unless the minor is emancipated) for domestic violence, a teen who is being stalked by another minor can apply for a TRO, as long as the victim’s parent or guardian files a complaint. A conviction for stalking is not required in order to apply. However, if the teen’s abuser is over 18, the victim can apply for a TRO as long as there was a relationship with the abuser.
If your teen is a victim of teen relationship abuse, it’s time to take action. Contact the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone today for a free consultation.