Your Use Of This Site Is Subject To These Terms Of Use. Do Not Use This Site If You Do Not Agree To These Terms Of Use.

Teen Dating Violence Awareness & Prevention

Michele Dusenbery, Executive Director, DART 2/26/2024

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. It is important for parents and students to know what relationship violence is, how it impacts our youth and what resources are available to help. The Defense Awareness Response Training (DART) organization has developed a healthy relationships and teen dating violence prevention program called DateSmart (see information below). It started over 15 years ago.

Types of Dating Violence

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, 2019) identifies four types of teen dating violence and defines them as follows:

In addition, a newer form of dating violence, cyber dating abuse, involves “the use of technology to control, harass, threaten, or stalk another person in the context of a dating relationship” (Dick et al., 2014: 1561). Some examples are pressuring partners to send a sexual/naked photo of themselves, spreading rumors by text or other messaging platforms, making partners afraid when they do not respond to a text or message, and harassing partners by using information from a social networking site (Zweig et al., 2013).

Another term used by researchers is digital dating abuse, which is a “pattern of behaviors using mobile phones and social media to harass, pressure, coerce, and threaten a dating partner” (Reed et al., 2021). Researchers also have used the terms technology-assisted adolescent dating violence (Stonard, 2020) and electronic aggression (Bennett et al., 2011).


Warning Signs For Parents That Your Child Might Be In An Abusive Relationship


  • ✓ Bruises and other physical signs of injury
  • ✓ Crying
  • ✓ Changes in behavior and mood - seems to be “down” or depressed
  • ✓ Changes in the way they dress
  • ✓ More frequent isolation from other friends and family
  • ✓ Failing grades
  • ✓ Truancy or dropping out of school
  • ✓ Emotional outbursts
  • ✓ Less participation in activities outside of the relationship
  • ✓ Trouble making decisions
  • ✓ Seems to be afraid of partner and asks you not to mention certain things to partner
  • ✓ Dating partner calls or text messages constantly and demands to know what your child is doing


  • ✓ Checks partner’s cell phone or email without permission
  • ✓ Constantly putting partner down
  • ✓ Extreme jealousy or insecurity
  • ✓ Explosive temper
  • ✓ Isolating partner from family or friends
  • ✓ Making false accusations
  • ✓ Mood swings
  • ✓ Physically hurting partner in any way
  • ✓ Possessiveness
  • ✓ Telling partner what to do
  • ✓ Has abused a dating partner in the past

Resources for Help

DART offers DateSmart, a free, schedule-accommodating 3-hour workshop specifically intended for 8th grade middle school youth. A one-hour version is also available. Using highly interactive small- and large-group discussions, activities, role plays, and media components, DateSmart instructors help students:

DART’s Resources Section has many valuable resources that can help organizations develop violence prevention strategies, including verbal de-escalation. If your organization is interested in DART's DateSmart Training, click here.


The references in this Blog can be accessed from: