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What if I think my teen is a victim of dating violence?

Original source: http://www.raisingrespectapp.org/app/#article

f you suspect abuse in your teen’s relationship, it can be difficult to know what to do next. Please know that you and your teen are not alone in navigating this situation.

*IMPORTANT – If you suspect your teen is in an abusive relationship, do NOT respond to this article, or ask a question through this app in an attempt to seek help. This app is meant to be informative and educational, and while we maintain the content, it will not be checked often enough to respond to urgent needs. For immediate help and resources, please use the information provided below.

Your teen can chat with a dating violence expert

Your teen can chat with a dating violence expert using the National Teen Dating Violence Hotline. There are several ways to reach an advocate:

  1. Phone: Teens can call an advocate at 1-866-331-9474 or TTY: 1-866-331-8453
  2. Text message: Teens can text an advocate by texting “loveis” to 22522
  3. Online: Teens can chat with an advocate online at LoveisRespect.org
You or your teen can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline

You or your teen can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline to talk, or be directed to your local domestic violence program:

  1. Phone: 1-800-799-7233 or TTY: 1-800-787-3224
  2. Online: You or your teen can chat online at TheHotline.org
Find a local domestic violence program

Both of the above hotlines and websites also include additional tips and information on teen dating violence for your reference. Finding your local domestic violence program through the hotline is a great way to get connected to local resources and experienced counselors.

What to do if it's immediate danger

If you believe your teen is in immediate danger, call 911.

Important tips

Some important things to remember if you think your teen may be in an abusive relationship:

  • Don’t blame them. It’s easy to wonder how they got into this situation or why they won’t break up, but blaming or making accusations will only make them defensive. And if they feel defensive, they are less likely to talk to you.
  • Keep the lines of communication open. Teens may not believe they are in an abusive relationship. Continue to share your concerns and have open discussions with your teen.
  • Understand they will defend their abuser. Because of the manipulation that occurs in abusive relationships, your teen likely still feels very real emotions towards their partner. Listen to what they’re saying, and try and point out specific instances of abuse.
  • This relationship is very real to them. As parents, we always want our teens to understand that they are young and have their whole lives ahead of them. While this is true, teens live in the moment, and this advice can make them feel as though you don’t understand what they’re going through.
  • You’re still the parent. Unlike adult abusive relationships, you are able to set boundaries on behalf of your teen. If you are going to do this, for example not allow them to hang out with their partner outside of school, be honest and upfront with your teen. Tell them ahead of time what you are going to do, and explain why.
  • Be careful about approaching the other teen or the other teen’s parents. If you are going to do this, discuss it with your teen first. Listen to what they have to say and consider their concerns carefully before you make your decision. Often addressing the abuser, though they may appear apologetic, can make them angry – which they may take out on your teen.

Need ideas for what to say? Remember not to make accusations, and come from a place of concern:

  • I’m concerned your boyfriend/girlfriend isn’t treating you as well as you deserve.
  • I’m worried about you. Can we talk?
  • The other day, I saw/heard [name of their partner] [ share the behavior you are concerned about]. That isn’t healthy in a relationship. What do you think?

Posted in: News, Teen Health Week

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