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What is Teen Dating Violence?

1 in 3 adolescents in Canada report experiencing violence in their romantic or sexual relationships. This aggressive, threatening, or manipulative behaviour is known as Teen Dating Violence (TDV). TDV can happen in person or online, and can involve stalking or physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse.

Although some may believe that romantic or sexual relationships in your teens are not important like adult relationships, this is not true. Teen relationships are very meaningful for development, and if they are characterized by violence, it can negatively impact teens’ mental and physical health in the short- and long-term.

12% of youth report experiencing physical violence

28% report experiencing psychological violence

17% report experiencing cyber violence

Who is at Risk?

Teen Dating Violence can affect anybody, but as a result of larger systemic issues such as racism, ableism, homophobia, and transphobia, some communities are exposed to additional harm. Because of these systemic issues, certain groups (e.g., racialized youth, youth with disabilities, 2SLGBTQ+ youth) experience violence at higher rates.

Experiencing and using TDV is related to physical, mental, and social health problems, including anxiety, depression, and suicidality, and TDV at its most extreme can result in homicide. Involvement in teen dating violence during adolescence also puts youth at higher risk of involvement in domestic violence in their adult relationships.

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

February was proclaimed Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (TDVAM) in the United States in 2013. The month is dedicated to raising awareness of teen dating violence and helping youth establish healthy relationships.

While TDVAM is not currently officially recognized in Canada, PREVNet advocates that February should be known as Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month in Canada, as teen dating violence is a serious public health problem that violates youths’ rights to safe and healthy development. All children and youth have the right to be safe in their homes, at school, in their communities, and online.

How You Can Help

During Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, learn more about dating violence and how you can help with our resources for Educators, Parents and Caregivers, Researchers and Service Providers, and Youth. Join the conversation on Twitter and on Instagram using #TDVAM. Together, we can spread awareness and stop dating abuse before it starts.

Information and Resources for Youth

Collection of PREVNet resources created by youth, for youth
LoveisRespect Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month 2023 Guide
Kids Help Phone

Information and Resources for Educators

Resource Hub for Educators
Preventing Youth Dating Violence: What Schools Can Do
Preventing Teen Dating Violence: How Educators Can Make a Difference (guidebook)
Responding to Disclosures of Teen Dating Violence at School (webinar and tip sheet)

Information and Resources for Parents/Caregivers

How Caregivers Can Help
What To Do When Dating Violence is Suspected or Disclosed
PREVNet Resource Library