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Like domestic violence, teen dating violence is based on one partner gaining and maintaining power and control over the other person.

This includes a pattern of actual or threatened acts of physical, sexual, financial, verbal, and emotional abuse; sexual and reproductive coercion; social sabotage; and sexual harassment perpetrated against a current or former dating partner.

Teens and people in dating relationships can be referred for Stalking Orders.

However, these require more evidence of a pattern of stalking or harassment.

A lack of knowledge about teen dating violence and access to appropriate services can create additional barriers for teens and their families.

Teen dating violence, or dating abuse, is a pattern of destructive behavior used to exert power or control over a dating partner.

It may include physical violence, emotional or verbal abuse, sexual abuse (including being pressured or forced to have sex), or stalking.

It often starts with teasing or name-calling, and can escalate over time to physical assault and rape. Part of what makes dating violence so painful and hard to understand is that there is love mixed with the abuse.

This can make it hard to realize that you really are being abused.

If you think you are in an abusive relationship, see “What to Do if You Are Being Abused,” below. Seek help, because without help, dating violence will escalate.

In almost all abusive relationships, men abuse women.

However, young women can be violent, and young men can also be victims.

Gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans-gendered teens are also equally at risk.

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