About a third of the girls said they were the sole perpetrators, and 13 percent reported that they were the sole victims.

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In South Carolina, for example, nearly 8 percent of adolescents reported being physically violent to a romantic partner.

Interestingly, the rates of reported victimization versus perpetration in the state were similar for boys and girls.[3] However, when it comes to severe teen dating violence — including sexual and physical assault — girls were disproportionately the victims.[4] At a recent workshop on teen dating violence, co-sponsored by the U. Departments of Justice (DOJ) and Health and Human Services (HHS), researchers presented findings from several studies that found that girls and boys perpetrate the same frequency of physical aggression in romantic relationships.

This finding was at odds with what practitioners attending the workshop said they encounter in their professional experience.

And so, to help further the discussion, we offer in this article a gender-based analysis of teen dating violence with a developmental perspective.[5] We look at what we know — and what we don't know — about who is the perpetrator and who is the victim in teen dating violence.

We also discuss how adult and adolescent romantic relationships differ in the hope that an examination of existing research will help us better understand the problem and move the field toward the creation of developmentally appropriate prevention programs and effective interventions for teenagers.

In 2001-2005, Peggy Giordano and her colleagues at Bowling Green State University interviewed more than 1,300 seventh, ninth and 11th graders in Toledo, Ohio.

[ Giordano is one of the authors of this article.] More than half of the girls in physically aggressive relationships said both they and their dating partner committed aggressive acts during the relationship.

Most of the practitioners in attendance — representing national organizations, schools and victim service community-based agencies — said that they primarily see female victims, and when they discuss teen dating violence with students, they hear that boys are the primary perpetrators. Because teen dating violence has only recently been recognized as a significant public health problem, the complex nature of this phenomenon is not fully understood.

Although research on rates of perpetration and victimization exists, research that examines the problem from a longitudinal perspective and considers the dynamics of teen romantic relationships is lacking.