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Everyone Deserves Safe Love - Teen Dating Violence

Teen Dating Violence “includes physical, psychological or sexual abuse; harassment; or stalking of any person ages 12 to 18 in the context of the past or present romantic or consensual relationship.” (“Teen Dating Violence.” National Institute of Justice, 22 Jan. 2024.) According to a national study of young people ages 14 to 21, 51% of females and 43% of males reported being victims of at least one type of dating violence. (Ybarra, M. L., et al., Archives of Sexual Behavior, Vol. 45, 2016) These statistics tell us that Teen Dating Violence is a lot more common than most people would think. Unfortunately, most teens do not speak up about what they are experiencing until much later and sometimes never. This is because they are among some of the people who don’t realize how common it is; causing them to feel alone, scared, and like speaking about abuse would be pointless. At times, people who endure dating violence don’t even realize what is happening to them. Although this topic can be sensitive for most or can feel difficult to talk about, it is something that should be discussed with our youth so they can be aware of how to recognize it and call it out. It is important to not only tell teens what a healthy relationship looks like but to exhibit the behaviors of one in your own relationships.

 Prevention comes in many different forms, but it often starts at home. How? 

Well leading by example is one of the first ways we can encourage healthy relationships for teens. That means showing them how to set boundaries in any relationship, from friendships to romantic partners. Actions are just as important as creating a safe space for teens to openly talk about what can be categorized as a healthy relationship and that violence is never a representation of one. We can give examples to teens so they know how to recognize red flags and toxic behaviors and remove themselves. Giving teenagers tools like this is the first part of preventing teen dating violence. As we know, our teenage years can be some of the most difficult we have ever experienced because we are growing, changing, and learning so much about ourselves and the world. Teenagers sometimes lack self-confidence and don't necessarily know how to navigate things as tricky as relationships. They are often still figuring out themselves, so learning how to love and care for another person is an even bigger responsibility. It is essential and beneficial to empower teens in any way we can. We can uplift them through our words. If we love our teens properly, they will know what genuine love feels like and what they truly deserve: kind, thoughtful, safe, and respectful relationships. Love is not supposed to hurt; a ‘love like that’ is not one they should subject themselves to, and sometimes it isn’t easy to navigate on their own. It is important to remember that asking for help is not a sign of weakness but a sign of strength.

Family Services - Help is available. 

  • Domestic Violence 24-Hour Hotline

    559-732- 5941 or 800-448- 2044

  • Rape Crisis 24-Hour Hotline

    Visalia: 559-732- 7273 or Porterville: 559-784-7273

  • 24-Hour National Human Trafficking Resource Center


For information on how to connect with Family Services’ other programs and services, please call us at 559-741- 7310.

Thank you to our generous sponsors.

  • First 5 Tulare County
    First 5 Tulare County
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