Youth Who Have Experienced Dating Violence in the Past Year (Student Reported), by Grade Level
Definition: Percentage of public school students in grades 7, 9, 11, and non-traditional students reporting that they have been hit, slapped, or intentionally physically hurt by a boyfriend/girlfriend in the past year.
Footnote: The 2011-2013 time period reflects data from school years 2011-12 and
2012-13. District- and county-level figures are weighted proportions
from the 2011-13 California Healthy Kids Survey, and state-level figures
are weighted proportions from the 2011-13 California Student Survey.
The grade levels included in school district data depend on the grades
offered in each district; for example, high school districts do not
include 7th grade data. "Non-Traditional" students are those enrolled in
Community Day Schools or Continuation Education; according to Ed-Data,
these schools make up about 10% of all public schools in California.
N/A indicates that the survey was not administered in that period or
that data are not available for that group. LNE (Low Number Event)
indicates that for a specific answer there were fewer than 25
respondents. N/R indicates that the sample is too small to be
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).
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.
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.
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)