Teen Dating Violence - Teens

What would you do if you thought your friend was in an abusive relationship?

Most of the time, violence in a relationship occurs when the couple is alone. You might not see dramatic warning signs like black eyes and broken bones.  So how can you tell for sure?

Here are some signs that might mean your friend is in an abusive realtionship:

  • Your friend’s partner uses put-downs and name-calling to make your friend feel bad.
  • If your friend is talking to someone of the opposite sex, her/his partner gets extremely jealous, even when it’s completely innocent.
  • Your friend apologizes for her/his partner’s behavior and makes up excuses about their behavior or attitude.
  • Your friend frequently cancels plans at the last minute, for reasons that sound untrue.
  • Your friend’s partner is always checking up on her/him. Your friend constantly gets phone calls, text messages, IMs and e-mails from her/his partner demanding to know where they are and who they’ve been with.
  • You’ve seen your friend’s partner lose their temper, maybe even break or hit things when they’re mad.
  • Your friend is always worried about upsetting or angering their partner.
  • Your friend starts becoming more isolated and stops participating in activities that they used to enjoy regularly.
  • Your friend’s weight, appearance or grades have changed dramatically. These could be signs of depression, which could indicate abuse.
  • Your friend has injuries that can’t be explained or the explanations don’t make sense.

What You Can Do to Help

Talking with a friend in an abusive relationship can make a big difference to them – whether they are being abused or being abusive. Sometimes, it can be difficult to know what to say or how to say it, especially if you’ve never dealt with this issue before so here are some tips...

When talking to your friend:

  • Listen to what they have to say.
  • Talk to them in private and keep what they say confidential.
  • Let your friend know why you are concerned. Be specific. Refer to incidents you have personally witnessed instead of what you have heard from others.
  • Offer to get your friend's information.
  • Mention other people your friend might talk to – a counselor, a teacher or another adult that they trust.
  • Let them know that you are available to talk if they need to.
  • Give them information to talk to a teen dating abuse hotline or refer them to a helpful Web site.
  • Help your friend establish a Dating Bill of Rights.

When talking to your friend, DO NOT:

  • Be judgemental.
  • Make them feel stupid or ashamed.
  • Ask lots of yes or no questions. Instead, give your friend a chance to talk freely.
  • Force your friend to make a decision or give ultimatums. They have to decide when they are ready to get help or end their relationship. You can’t do it for them.
  • Abandon your friend. As a friend, you can help them get out of this situation.
  • Feel like you have to know all of the answers. You can rely on others, like teen dating violence programs, to answer the “tough” questions.

Check out PADV’s teen scenes on social media:

Contact PADV's Coordinator of Dating Violence Prevention to schedule a teen dating violence presentation for your school or youth group at [email protected].


Information compiled from LoveIsRespect.org and Liz Claiborne Inc.