Adolescents In Domestic Abuse

By: Lydia Cassell

August 3, 2020

How Common Is Abuse In Adolescent Relationships?

In a single year, approximately 1.5 million high school students all over the nation are subject to physical abuse from a partner. Of these numbers, only about 33% of adolescents end up telling anyone about the abuse. 

That low percentage can be attributed to a lack of awareness about domestic violence, dating abuse, and the laws surrounding such issues. On another hand, victim shaming, making light of the abuse, and blatant disbelief also have a heavy presence in why victims choose to stay silent.

How Do You Spot The Signs Of An Unhealthy Relationship?

A toxic relationship is characterized by Dr. Lillian Glass as “any relationship [between people who] don’t support each other, where there’s conflict and one seeks to undermine the other, where there’s competition, where there’s disrespect and a lack of cohesiveness.” 

In other words, here are a few red flags to watch out for.

  1. Constant competing to the point that it causes frequent arguments and friction.
  2. Feeling emotionally drained and overall upset when around them.
  3. Feeling like you can’t go to your partner with concerns or valid complaints, feeling uneasy with them.
  4. Getting revenge being a common them with you or your partner, rather than talking it out.
  5. Threatening to, or using, rumors or personal information as blackmail against their partner.
  6. Threats of breaking up or suicide when they don’t get their way.

Most of these examples are easy to spot, but for more ways to catch subtle signs watch the video below from Reachout, a relationship abuse resource site.



Power and Control Wheel

The Power and Control Wheel is a visual representation of the various tactics an abusive partner utilizes to keep their partner under their control. The wheel was created by Ellen Pence and the Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs in Duluth, Minnesota. Since then, this variant, the Teen Power and Control Wheel has come out. As seen above, it outlines the different ways adolescents and young adults can control their partners. 

By using each of these individual modes of manipulation, they train or beat their partner into submission to them, until it is nearly impossible to visualize a way out of the relationship. For more information on the Power and Control Wheel and how to combat its use, visit, the creators of the Wheels.


Caring Adults

Helpful Hotlines Include:

National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-7233)

National Teen Dating Abuse Hotline (1-866-331-9474)

For more information on classifying dating abuse, visit these sites:

Dating Violence Prevention

Teen Dating Violence | National Institute of Justice


© Pathway Counseling Center

1073 Rockford Rd. SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404 


Leave a Reply