What is Teen Dating Violence?
Teen Dating Violence is a pattern of emotional, verbal, sexual, or physical abuse used by one person in a current or past dating relationship to exert power and control over another when one or both of the partners is a teenager. Abuse may include insults, coercion, social sabotage, sexual harassment, stalking, threats and/or acts of physical or sexual abuse. The abusive partner uses this pattern of violent and coercive behavior to gain power and maintain control over the dating partner. This may also include abuse, harassment, and stalking via electronic devices such as cell phones and computers, and harassment through a third party, and may be physical, mental, or both. In Teen Dating Violence relationships, there are Three Important Roles:
The Abuser - A person who physically, sexually, verbally or emotionally hurts a dating partner.
The Victim - A person who is hurt physically, sexually, verbally or emotionally by a dating partner.
The Bystander - A person who is aware that someone is being abused in a dating relationship. The bystander may become aware of the abuse through the abuser's or target's actions or words, or through second-hand information.
What Can You Do About Teen Dating Violence
If you observe that someone you know may be a victim of Teen Dating Violence, DO:
Listen to what the student, family or friend is saying without interrupting.
Find out what the person would like to do about the relationship and support them regardless of their decision.
You may let them know that abuse usually gets worse over time. Let them know that you will be there for them if they ever need you.
Expect the person to be confused about their feelings and about what to do. Expect them to change their mind, maybe even a few times.
Watch your body language and respect the person's right to privacy and personal space.
Help the person become informed of available resources, some of which are listed on this page.
Decide how you should proceed with informing any other persons, especially if you feel the person's safety may be in danger.
Be careful… DO NOT:
Judge the person
Give advice - Instead talk to them about the choices they have and help them find persons able to help
Ask unnecessary questions ; the victim may shut down if they feel like they are being pressed to share information that they aren't ready to talk about
Confront the person's abusive partner about the abuse - confronting the abuser may put you in danger, and may put the victim at increased risk
Obtaining a Protective Order
The following types of abuse can result in a protective order
If someone has physically abused, sexually abused, attempted or threatened to physically abuse, stalked and/or unlawfully held another person against his/her will, a protection order may be obtained for the victim's safety.
How do teens get a protection order?
If a teen qualifies for a protective order, they may go to court and file for a temporary order, which lasts for 15 days.
If the judge schedules a hearing, they can grant a permanent order that lasts as long as the judge orders.
Contact your local domestic violence center, the Collin County DA's Office for more information and assistance with applying for a teen dating violence protection order.
Resources for Teen Dating Violence Hotlines
National Teen Dating Abuse Hotline
1-866-331-9474 or Text "loveis" to 22522
National Domestic Violence Hotline
Hope's Door (Collin County)
(972) 422-SAFE (7233)
Resources and Information