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Dating Violence
Liz Claiborne Inc. released a survey on July 8, 2008 indicating that a surprising number of young adolescents are experiencing significant levels of dating violence and abuse. Among the key findings:
  • Nearly three in four tweens (72%) say boyfriend/girlfriend relationships usually begin at age 14 or younger.
  • More than one in three 11-12 year olds (37%) say they have been in a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship.
Surprising levels of abusive behavior reported in tween (11-14) dating relationships.
  • 62% of tweens who have been in a relationship say they know friends who have been verbally abused (called stupid, worthless, ugly, etc) by a boyfriend/girlfriend.
  • Two in five (41%) tweens who have been in a relationship know friends who have been called names, put down, or insulted via cellphone, IM, social networking sites (such as MySpace and Facebook), etc.
  • One in five 13-14 year olds in relationships (20%) say they know friends and peers who have been struck in anger (kicked, hit, slapped, or punched) by a boyfriend or girlfriend.
  • Only half of all tweens (51%) claim to know the warning signs of a bad/hurtful relationship.
Significant numbers of teens (15-18) are experiencing emotional and mental abuse as well as violence in their dating relationships; this is even more prevalent among teens that have had sex by the age of 14.
  • More than one in three teens report that their partners wanted to know where they were (36%) and who they were with (37%) all the time.
Among teens who had sex by age 14, abuse is much higher (58% and 59%, respectively).
  • 29% of teens say their boyfriends/girlfriends call them names and put them down, compared to 58% of teens who had sex by age 14.
  • 22% of teens say they were pressured to do things they did not want to do, compared to 45% of teens who had sex by age 14.
  • 69% of all teens who had sex by age 14 said they have gone through one or more types of abuse in a relationship.
The survey found that parents think they know about their tweens dating experiences, but many are in the dark about what their kids are actually doing. Results show that:
  • More than three times as many tweens (20%) as parents (6%) admit that parents know little or nothing about the tweens’ dating relationships.
  • Twice as many tweens report having “hooked up” with a partner (17%) as parents reported of their own 11-14 year old child (8%).
Liz Claiborne Inc. commissioned Teenage Research Unlimited (TRU) to conduct quantitative research among tweens (ages 11-14), parents of tweens, and teens (ages 15-18) who have been in a relationship. The research pertained to young dating relationships and the presence/absence of sexual activity and abusive behaviors. TRU independently sampled the three groups and fielded a customized 15-minute survey online to each group from January 2-18, 2008; TRU chose online as the data-collection method for this research not only because of its high penetration (92%) among this population, but also because of the sensitive nature of the content, allowing young people to answer candidly (i.e., no adult interviewer) within the context of their preferred communications method. A total of 1,043 tweens, 523 parents, and 626 teens completed the survey, resulting in a margin of error (at the 95% confidence level) of ±3.0 percentage points for tweens in total, ±3.9 points for parents, and ±4.1 points for teens (±5.5 among those 17-18).

(Liz Claiborne, Teen Research Unlimited Survey, released July 2008)
A study of public high school students in New York City found females who recently experienced dating violence and males who experienced sexual assault some time in their lives are more likely to report suicide attempts than their counterparts without similar histories of violence.

“Dating Violence, Sexual Assault, and Suicide Attempts Among Urban Teenagers” is published in the June 2007 edition of the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine.

In the survey, 9.6 percent of females and 5.4 percent of males reported a lifetime history of sexual assault, and 10.6 percent of females and 9.5 percent of males said they had experienced dating violence in the past year. Dating violence was defined as being hit, slapped or hurt on purpose by a boyfriend or girlfriend.

Adolescent girls who reported dating violence were 60 percent more likely to report one or more suicide attempts in the past year, the survey found, and males who reported sexual assault were four times as likely to have attempted suicide.

A history of sexual assault in females and a history of dating violence in males did not increase the rates of attempted suicide, which is the third leading cause of death for adolescents.

Researchers surveyed 8,080 students age 14 and older in 87 New York City public high schools.
In a Liz Claiborne Survey released in March 2006, half (50%) of the 1,004 teens ages 13 to 18 surveyed reported they've been in a dating relationship and nearly a third (32%) said they've been in a serious relationship. This same survey found that:
  • One in four teens (24%) reported feeling pressure to date; and 14% said they would do almost anything to keep a boyfriend or girlfriend.
  • In the same survey, 20% of teenagers who have been in a serious relationship report being hit, slapped or pushed by a partner.
  • A significant number of teens (14%) said they have been threatened with physical harm—either to them or self-inflicted by their partner—to avoid a breakup.
  • One out of 10 of these teens has been threatened with the spread of rumors by their partner as a means of control.
  • 7% said someone in a relationship has either threatened to kill them or commit suicide in an attempt to stay together.
According to a February 2005 Lifetime Television survey of 600 women and men, ages 16-24, intimate partner violence has personally touched their lives much more so than people have reported in prior studies:

Approximately seven in ten women (77%) and men (64%) said they know or have known someone in an abusive relationship and approximately six in ten say that they know a woman who has been sexually assaulted. This is a dramatic increase from a 1996 survey of adults 18+ that found that only 33% of respondents have known a woman in an abusive relationship.

For young women the personal connection is even more profound and the fear of sexual violence alters their daily life. Approximately nine out of ten (87%) young women said that they take special precautions to rarely or never walk alone after dark and nearly two-thirds (64%) said that they think about what could happen if they leave a drink unattended.

A majority (63%) named law enforcement as the first and second most responsible for addressing the problem. More than one-third of respondents (36%) said Congress is either first or second most responsible. A gender gap remains on how serious the issue is among men and women. 75% of young women think the issue is "extremely serious" compared to 57% of young men, thus demonstrating the importance of Lifetime's campaign, in collaboration with ESPN and others, to reach both women and men.

Young people are also willing to speak out and address violence against women themselves. When asked what they would do if they knew a friend or relative who was abusing a girlfriend or wife, half (50%) of all young men surveyed said that would say something to him about his abusive behavior. More than two-thirds (66%) said that they'd be somewhat or very likely to report the abuse to the police. Nearly three-quarters (74%) of both men and women said that they would urge the woman to get help.

(Source: The survey was conducted online by The Michael Cohen Group for Lifetime Television from February 9-16, 2005, among 600 young people, 16-24 years of age. The sample was comprised of 50% female and 50% male respondents. One-third of respondents were 16-18; one-third of respondents were 19-21; one-third of respondents were 22-24. Additionally, quotas were set to ensure racial representation that is reflective of the U.S. population between 16-24 as a whole. A full report is available upon request from Lifetime Television.)
Brothers and sisters who fight while growing up lay the groundwork for battering their dates by the time they get to college, according to a University of Florida study. The survey found that dating violence was more common among partners who had punched, shoved or otherwise abused their siblings than those who had not. The study examined what happens between the ages of 10 and 14, when sibling violence peaks.

Siblings learn violence as a form of manipulation and control as they compete with each other for family resources. They carry on these bullying behaviors to dating, the next peer relationship in which they have an emotional investment.

More than three-fourths of people in the survey -- 78 percent -- reported being pushed or shoved by a sibling, while nearly as many -- 77 percent -- said they had pushed or shoved a sibling. Fifty-five percent said their sibling punched or hit them with something that could hurt, while half said they had done this to their sibling. One-quarter reported being slammed against a wall, and 27 percent said they had done the same to a sibling.

Overall, 9 percent said a sibling had used a knife or gun against them, while nearly 6 percent overall reported using a knife or gun against a sibling. The highest level of sibling violence was found between two brothers and the least between two sisters. No differences were found based on race or whether children had grown up in broken homes.

The survey of 538 men and women was conducted at a community college in Hillsborough County, Florida. The research appears in a supplement to the March/April 2004 issue of the American Journal of Health Behavior.

(Source: March/April 2004 American Journal of Health Behavior)
A study of more than 4,300 US students ages 11 to 21 found that 22 percent of females and 21 percent of males reported being abused by an intimate partner.

In questionnaires, researchers asked the students about their romantic and sexual relationships within the past 18 months. They were asked if they had been insulted in public, sworn at, pushed or threatened with violence, or whether their partners had ever thrown something at them.

The researchers also asked students about "high-risk behaviors," including substance use (alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana), antisocial behavior, violence and attempted suicide. They found that both males and females who reported being abused were significantly more likely than their peers to engage in high-risk behaviors. Abused female students were even more likely than abused males to report substance use.

For both sexes, abuse was tied to a higher risk of depression. Older students (17 to 21 years old) and those with many partners appeared more susceptible to abusive relationships. Among male students, other factors that made abuse more likely were being African American and living in a single-parent household.

(Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine 2003;157:375-380)
Recently, the Justice Department found that women ages 16 and 24 are the most likely victims of intimate partner violence.

(US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, October 2001)
Teenage girls who have witnessed violence are two to three times more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors such as smoking, taking drugs, drinking alcohol and having unsafe sex. Teenage girls who have experienced violence firsthand were also more likely to take these health risks. In addition, they were two to four times more likely than those with no exposure to violence to have sex at an early age, have intercourse with strangers, have multiple sex partners or test positive for a sexually transmitted disease.

(Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, November 2001)
In a survey of over 4,000 9th through 12th-graders, approximately 1 in 5 female students (20.2% in 1997 and 18.0% in 1999) reported being physically and/or sexually abused by a dating partner.

(JAMA, 2001)
40% of teenage girls age 14 to 17 report knowing someone their age who has been hit or beaten by a boyfriend.

(Children Now/Kaiser Permanente poll, December, 1995)
59% of college students surveyed at campuses across the US reported personally knowing friends, relatives, or someone else close to them affected by domestic violence.

(Roper Starch Worldwide, 1995, commissioned by Liz Claiborne Inc, telephone survey of 300 college students)
20% of female homicide victims are between 15 and 24 years of age.

(Levy, Barrie, 1993. In Love & In Danger)
More than one out of four high school students will experience physical violence at the hands of someone they date.

(Lery; Dating Violence, 1991)
Typically in 72-77% of the cases, violence occurs only after a couple has become seriously involved, rather than in the early, more casual stages of dating (Angela Browne, When Battered Women Kill, New York: The Free Press, 1987;p.42) Young people tend to interpret the violence of their partner as signifying love.

(Levy, 1991)
21% to 53% of college students have experienced at least one incident of dating violence

(as cited in Worth, Matthews & Coleman, 1990).

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