Although abuse in teen dating relationships can be similar to abuse in adult relationships, there are some unique problems for young people facing abuse.
Being unable to tell anyone - teenagers often won't tell their parents about their abusive relationship because they fear losing newly earned privileges and freedoms.
A lack of resources and services - there are far fewer resources and services, such as support groups and shelters, for teens than there are for adults.
Teen relationships are not taken seriously - adults often think of teen relationships as only “puppy love”. Adults seem to think that because teenage relationships are often short term and may seem superficial that they are easy to break off. In fact, teenagers can experience relationships as intensely as adults, and might find it very hard to leave.
Pressure to be in a relationship - some teens feel pressure to have a boy/girlfriend to fit in with their friends or to prove their popularity. The pressure to be in a relationship may be so great that any partner, even an abusive 1, is better than being alone.
Being unable to avoid the abuser - if both partners attend the same school, a victim will have a difficult time avoiding the abuser. It may be very hard to break up with him if she is faced with him and his friends everyday at school.
Lack of role models or comparisons - if a teen is dating for the 1st time, he/she may have nothing to compare the experience to. Therefore, if they are abused, they may think that this is normal for a dating relationship.
Teens may fear any or all of the following:
Not being believed/being blamed
Not being liked/abandonment by friends/becoming unpopular
Not being supported
Rumors or stories being told about them
The Violence Powerwheel is a helpful tool to understanding power and control in relationships and how to identify indicators of both sexual and physical violence.