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Abusive Relationships and Dating Violence Approximately 9.8% of youth reported an experience of physical dating violence in the last year, and 7.4% of youth report having been physically forced to have sexual intercourse in the last year (Eaton, Kann, Kinchen, et al., 2010).Dating and romantic relationships are characterized by emotional and physical intimacy.Any unexplainable bruises, cuts, abrasions, or other injuries can indicate a youth is experiencing some form of physical violence.Furthermore, if a youth starts to spend excessive amount of time with their boyfriend or girlfriend and they seem worried or anxious about being out of contact with that partner, this might indicate that they are feeling pressured to stay in contact with them.Dating violence includes both direct acts of violence and abuse, as well as indirect violence and abuse such threatening to harm the victim or threatening to harm someone or something they care about (siblings, pets, possessions, etc.) Both direct and indirect violence and abuse serve to intimidate and control the victim.Examples of physical abuse include pushing, shoving, slapping, kicking, knocking down, hitting and punching; or gestures that threaten to perform these behaviors (e.g. Sexual abuse and assault include any unwanted sexual contact or sexual coercion.

Sometimes a child may have made a poor decision, such as agreeing to meet someone from an online chat room and parents may feel angry their child did something so foolish and broke the rules.If parents suspect that their adolescent child is experiencing an abusive romantic relationship, they should talk to their child about their concerns in a manner that demonstrates love and concern while encouraging their child to talk about any troubling aspects of their relationship with their partner.Parents should mention specific changes or warning signs they have noticed and explain why those signs cause concern.For instance, an abuser may demand the victim always tell them where they are, and may insist upon an immediate response to their phone calls, texts, and other communications while they are with other people.Eventually meeting these demands becomes so unpleasant or embarrassing that the victim gradually discontinues contact with other people.

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