Information for Teens
National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline
Toll Free Phone: 866-331-9474
Teen Dating Violence
How to Help a Friend
It is not your fault
If you are being abused by your partner, you may feel confused, afraid, angry and/or trapped. All of these emotions are normal responses to abuse. You may also blame yourself for what is happening. But no matter what others might say, you are never responsible for your partner’s abusive actions. Dating abuse is not caused by alcohol or drugs, stress, anger management, or provocation. It is always a choice to be abusive. It is not your fault.
Call a hotline for support and advice:
Developing a Safety Plan
It can be helpful to think ahead about safety tips if you are in a dangerous or potentially dangerous relationship. Here are some things to consider in designing your own safety plan.
- What adults and teachers can you reach out to for support?
- Use a buddy system for going to school, classes and after school activities.
- Consider changing your school locker or lock.
- Keep a journal describing the abuse.
- Consider changing any cell phone number, email address, etc. that the abuser knows so they can no longer contact you.
- Keep your passwords safe and private; change any passwords that the abuser may have access to.
- Where could you go to quickly to get away from an abusive person?
To learn more about how to develop a safety plan, click here.
The following questions ask you about your relationship. If you are not currently in a relationship, these are signs or “red flags” to assist people in identifying a potentially abusive person.
- Has your partner ever scared you with violence or threatening behavior?
- Does your partner make excuses for the abusive behavior? For example: saying, “It’s because of alcohol or drugs,” or “I can’t control my temper,” or “I was just joking”?
- Do you feel pressured by your partner when it comes to sex?
- Does your partner say, “I will kill myself if you break up with me” or “I will hurt/kill you if you break up with me”?
For more examples of warning signs, click here.
How to Help a Friend
- Give assurance that you believe your friend’s story.
- Listen and say that you care and want to help.
- Physical safety is the first priority. If you feel your friend is in danger, voice that concern. Connect them to a hotline or trusted adult to help create a safety plan.
- Tell your friend that their actions do not cause the abuse; being abusive is a choice by the offender.
- Do not tell them what to do, when to leave, or when not to leave. Offer resources and let them make their own decisions.
- Do not place yourself in danger by confronting the abuser.
To learn more about how to help a friend who is being affected by relationship abuse, click here.
Safety with Social Networking: Use the privacy controls offered by social networking sites to restrict access to your page and protect your private information.
To learn how to set privacy settings on Facebook, click here.
Follow these guidelines to make sure your private accounts stay private.
- Do not store your passwords.
- Change your passwords often.
- Use different passwords for different sites and accounts.
- Do not use obvious passwords, such as your birthday or your pet’s name.
- Use passwords that include both letters and numbers.
Safe Internet Browsing:
Your web browser keeps a record of every webpage that you visit. While this cannot be completely erased from your computer, clearing your browser’s “history” is an easy way to increase your privacy.
To learn how to clear your history and caches, click here.
To learn about safe email, safe calling, and other kinds of technology safety, click here.
How To Get Involved
- Media Education Foundation (PDF) – a discussion on the pressures to be “masculine.”
- Miss Representation – discussing dating violence and how to start those conversations.
- Women Helping Women – teen dating violence statistics; discussion of sexual assault, the feelings survivors may have, and how you can help.
What is Relationship Abuse?
Relationship abuse is a pattern of abusive and coercive behaviors used to maintain power and control over a former or current intimate partner. Abuse can be emotional, financial, sexual or physical and can include threats, isolation, and intimidation. Abuse tends to escalate over time. When someone uses abuse and violence against a partner, it is always part of a larger pattern of control.