Youth Who Have Experienced Dating Violence in the Past Year (Student Reported), by Grade Level

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Learn More About Intimate Partner Violence

Measures of Intimate Partner Violence on Kidsdata.org
On kidsdata.org, indicators of intimate partner violence include the number of domestic violence calls to law enforcement each year by county and city, and the rate of such calls per 1,000 residents ages 18-69 by county. In addition, data include student reports of whether or not they have been hit, slapped, or intentionally physically hurt by a girlfriend or boyfriend in the past 12 months, for grades 7, 9, and 11 and for students in non-traditional schools. The youth dating violence indicators come from the California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS) and the California Student Survey (CSS), through a partnership with WestEd (which developed and administers the surveys) and the California Department of Education. The data on domestic violence calls for assistance come from the California Department of Justice.
Note: While intimate partner violence can include physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, including stalking—and it can be in person or electronic—the measure on kidsdata.org addresses only physical abuse (1). The figures on kidsdata.org likely underestimate the problem, as many victims do not report violence due to fear, or because they think others will not believe them or the police cannot help (1, 2).

Sources:

1.  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. (2015). Teen dating violence. Retrieved from: http://www.cdc.gov/ViolencePrevention/intimatepartnerviolence/teen_dating_violence.html

2.  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. (2014). Understanding intimate partner violence: Fact sheet. Retrieved from: http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pub/ipv_factsheet.html
Intimate Partner Violence
Bullying and Harassment at School
Child Abuse and Neglect
Children's Emotional Health
Foster Care
School Connectedness
School Safety
Injuries
Teen Sexual Health
Why This Topic Is Important
Violence between intimate partners or former partners in dating or marriage relationships can result in physical injury, psychological trauma, and even death (1). Violence may include intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, emotional abuse, stalking, and other abusive behavior. The negative effects of intimate partner violence also can extend beyond the direct victim (2). For example, an estimated 10 million U.S. children are exposed to domestic violence each year, and research shows that children who witness such violence—even if they are not the targets—are at increased risk for mental, physical, behavioral, social, and developmental impairments (2, 3). Child witnesses of family violence also are at higher risk of becoming abusers or victims themselves later in life (3, 4).

An estimated 3 in 10 women and 1 in 10 men in the U.S. have experienced intimate partner violence (1). These figures are considered underestimates, as many victims do not report it (1). Among teens, national survey data show that about 1 in 3 youth ages 14-20 report experiencing dating violence, including physical, sexual, or psychological aggression (5). A 2013 survey also found that 1 in 10 U.S. high school students reported being physically victimized by a dating partner in the previous year (6). Adolescent victims of dating violence are more likely than their non-victimized peers to use substances, show symptoms of depression/anxiety, and engage in antisocial, suicidal, or risky sexual behavior (5, 6).

Relationship violence occurs in an estimated 3 to 17 percent of all pregnancies in the United States (7). Experiencing intimate partner violence during the prenatal period is associated with poorer maternal and infant health. Specifically, women who experience relationship violence during pregnancy are less likely to access prenatal care, and more likely to have insufficient weight gain, miscarry, give birth prematurely, and have infants with low birth weight or injuries (7). Women who experience relationship violence during pregnancy also have elevated stress levels, increased rates of smoking, and are at an increased risk for substance use, which are associated with poor maternal and infant health and well-being (8).
Certain factors put individuals at greater risk of victimization by an intimate partner, such as substance use, seeing or being a victim of violence as a child, and experiencing stressful life events, e.g., financial hardship or unemployment (1). For teen dating violence, additional risk factors include family conflict, depression/anxiety, believing that violence is acceptable, associating with delinquent peers, aggressive behavior, lacking coping skills, and lacking support at home, in school, and in the community (4, 6).

For more information about intimate partner violence, see kidsdata.org's Research & Links section.

Sources for this narrative:

1.  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. (2014). Understanding intimate partner violence: Fact sheet. Retrieved from: http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pub/ipv_factsheet.html

2.  Gilbert, A. L., et al. (2013). Child exposure to parental violence and psychological distress associated with delayed milestones. Pediatrics, 132(6), e1577-e1583. Retrieved from: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/132/6/e1577

3.  National Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence. (2012). Report of the Attorney General's National Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence. U.S. Department of Justice. Retrieved from: http://www.justice.gov/defendingchildhood/task-force-children-exposed-violence

4.  Wilkins, N., et al. (2014). Connecting the dots: An overview of the links among multiple forms of violence. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Prevention Institute. Retrieved from: http://www.preventioninstitute.org/component/jlibrary/article/id-356/127.html

5.  U.S. Department of Education, Office of Safe and Healthy Students. (n.d.). Teen dating violence in the United States: A fact sheet for schools. Retrieved from: http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/oese/oshs/teendatingviolence-factsheet.html

6.  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. (2015). Teen dating violence. Retrieved from: http://www.cdc.gov/ViolencePrevention/intimatepartnerviolence/teen_dating_violence.html 

7.  McMahon, S., & Armstrong, D. Y. (2012), Intimate partner violence during pregnancy: best practices for social workers. Health Social Worker, 37(1), 9-17. Retrieved from: http://hsw.oxfordjournals.org/content/37/1/9

8.  McMahon, S., et al. (2011). The impact of emotional and physical violence during pregnancy on maternal and child health at one year post-partum. Children and Youth Services Review, 33(11), 2103-2111. Retrieved from: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0190740911002155
How Children Are Faring
In 2014, a total of 155,965 domestic violence calls were made to law enforcement in California, which equates to 6 calls per 1,000 adults ages 18-69. This represents about a 35% decline from 1998, when there were 9.3 calls per 1,000 adults ages 18-69. The decline is evident at the county level, as well; rates declined in 38 of 55 counties with available data for that time period. Despite the decline, county rates of domestic violence calls for assistance continue to vary widely, ranging from 2.7 to 45.9 per 1,000 adults ages 18-69 in 2014.

In California, 4.1% of 7th graders, 5% of 9th graders, and 5.9% of 11th graders reported that they had been hit, slapped, or intentionally physically hurt by a girlfriend or boyfriend in the past 12 months, according to 2011-13 data. Non-traditional students (those enrolled in Community Day Schools or Continuation Education) had the highest percentages reporting relationship violence in the past year: 11.1% in 2011-13. Greater percentages of males in 7th, 9th, and 11th grades reported experiencing dating violence than their female peers in 2011-13. Among racial/ethnic groups, higher percentages of American Indian/Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, and African American/Black students reported relationship violence than students in other groups. In addition, students who reported feeling less connected to their schools more often reported dating violence.
Policy Implications
Witnessing domestic violence as a child can have harmful, long-term emotional, behavioral, and physical health consequences (1, 2, 3). Millions of U.S. children witness such violence each year (2). Dating violence among teens also is a major public health problem in the U.S., with an estimated 1 in 3 young people ages 14-20 reporting they have experienced dating violence (4). A multitude of systems and services address aspects of this problem, though they have not always worked collaboratively or focused on the same goals (1). Child welfare agencies, family and dependency courts, criminal justice systems, schools, health care providers, and community-based agencies all can play a role.

According to research and subject experts, policy options that could prevent and address teen dating violence and childhood exposure to domestic violence include:
  • Supporting evidence-based, school-wide programs for middle and high school students to improve knowledge, attitudes, and norms regarding dating violence, and to help youth develop the skills to build healthy relationships; such programs should be culturally appropriate and address how to recognize and respond to violence (5, 6)
  • Setting school policies that foster a safe, supportive environment and promote student engagement in school, as positive school environments and student connectedness to school are linked to lower levels of violence (6, 7)
  • Ensuring adequate screening among child welfare agencies, health care providers, schools, and other organizations to detect intimate partner violence and children exposed to such violence; screening for teen dating violence can be incorporated into efforts to detect other high-risk behaviors, such as bullying, delinquency, and substance use (1, 3, 5, 6)
  • Promoting and supporting state- and county-level interagency and cross-system collaboration to ensure access to appropriate services for teens experiencing dating violence, as well as for younger children exposed to violence; community responses should be comprehensive and coordinated, including child welfare services, law enforcement, domestic violence service providers, courts, schools, and teen-serving organizations (1, 3, 7)
For more policy ideas related to intimate partner violence, visit the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence, Break the Cycle, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Also see Policy Implications under these kidsdata.org topics: Child Abuse and Neglect, School Connectedness, and Bullying and Harassment at School.

Sources for this narrative:

1.  Rosewater, A., & Moore, K. (2010). Addressing domestic violence, child safety and well-being: Collaborative strategies for California families. California Leadership Group on Domestic Violence and Child Well-being. Retrieved from: http://www.vawnet.org/summary.php?doc_id=2601&find_type=web_sum_GC

2.  Gilbert, A. L., et al. (2013). Child exposure to parental violence and psychological distress associated with delayed milestones. Pediatrics, 132(6), e1577-e1583. Retrieved from: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/132/6/e1577

3.  National Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence. (2012). Report of the Attorney General's National Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence. U.S. Department of Justice. Retrieved from: http://www.justice.gov/defendingchildhood/task-force-children-exposed-violence

4.  U.S. Department of Education, Office of Safe and Healthy Students. (n.d.). Teen dating violence in the United States: A fact sheet for schools. Retrieved from: http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/oese/oshs/teendatingviolence-factsheet.html

5.  National Institute of Justice. (2014). Prevention and intervention of teen dating violence. U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs. Retrieved from: http://www.nij.gov/topics/crime/intimate-partner-violence/teen-dating-violence/Pages/prevention-intervention.aspx

6.  Oudekerk, B., et al. (2014). Teen dating violence: How peers can affect risk & protective factors. National Institute of Justice. Retrieved from: http://youth.gov/federal-links/teen-dating-violence-how-peers-can-affect-risk-protective-factors

7.  Wilkins, N., et al. (2014). Connecting the dots: An overview of the links among multiple forms of violence. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Prevention Institute. Retrieved from: http://www.preventioninstitute.org/component/jlibrary/article/id-356/127.html
Websites with Related Information
Key Reports
County/Regional Reports
More Data Sources For Intimate Partner Violence