Legal Responses to Teen Dating Violence

Not only do more teens than adults keep dating violence a secret, the majority of teen victims never obtain mental health services, seek protection in shelters, or pursue legal help, such as cases against abusers and protection orders.1

Access issues contribute to the lower rate of pursuing legal recourse among teens. Such barriers include requirements related to age (e.g., protective orders are not available for minors), relationship status (e.g., limiting the definition of domestic abuse to abuse between partners who are married, cohabitate, or have children together), and parental consent (e.g., not allowing access to those teens who will not or cannot tell their parents about the abuse).2 For a description of state legal responses to teen dating violence, go to the nonprofit group Break the Cycle’s 2010 State Law Report Cards: A National Survey of Teen Dating Violence Laws.

References

1 Break the Cycle, 2008
2 Break the Cycle, 2010; Saperstein, 2005

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