Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Dating violence can happen to any teen in a romantic, dating, or sexual relationship, anytime, anywhere. But it doesn’t have to happen at all. Learn how to prevent teen dating violence and promote healthy relationships with CDC’s online resources.

Did you know that in a recent national survey, 1 in 10 teens reported being hit or physically hurt on purpose by a boyfriend or girlfriend at least once in the 12 months prior to the survey? And nearly half of all teens in relationships say they know friends who have been verbally abused.

Before violence starts, a teen may experience controlling behavior and demands. One partner may tell another what to wear and who to hang out with. Over time, the unhealthy behavior may become violent. That’s why adults need to talk to teens now about the importance of developing healthy, respectful relationships.

Dating violence can have a negative effect on health throughout life. Victims of teen dating violence are more likely to do poorly in school, and report binge drinking, suicide attempts, physical fighting, and current sexual activity. Teens who perpetrate dating violence may also carry these patterns of violence into future relationships.

CDC’s Division of Violence Prevention is leading the initiative, Dating Matters™: Strategies to Promote Healthy Teen Relationships. Dating Matters™ aims to promote respectful, nonviolent dating relationships among youth in high-risk, urban communities. The comprehensive approach will build upon current evidence-based practice and experience to reduce the burden of teen dating violence in these communities. The initiative will support communities as they implement prevention strategies in schools, with families, and in neighborhoods.

Over the next five years, Dating Matters™ will be implemented in middle schools and neighborhoods across Chicago, Illinois, Baltimore, Maryland, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and Oakland, California. For more information about each of these communities, view the Dating Matters™ grantee profiles.

Learn more about CDC’s efforts to prevent dating violence:

What is Teen Dating Violence? Understanding Teen Dating Violence Fact Sheet [PDF – 180KB] Dating Matters: Strategies to Promote Healthy Teen Relationships Fact Sheet [PDF – 2.18 MB] Dating Matters: Understanding Teen Dating Violence Prevention