Warning Signs that a Teen Is Experiencing Abuse

The following list includes common cues that a teen may be experiencing dating violence. Being in a relationship with someone who uses controlling behavior is often a tell-tale sign of abuse.

  • Truancy, skipping classes, or dropping out of school
    A person is in an abusive relationship may be encouraged to skip or drop out of school with their partner. An abusive relationship can also be very exhausting and not allow a lot of time or energy for school.

  • Excuses for their partner’s behavior
    A person is in an abusive relationship will often cover up or minimize their partner’s behavior.

  • Isolation from family and friends and loss of interest in activities
    An abusive partner will often demand that all free time be spent with them. They may also try to isolate their partner from support systems, like their other friends, in an attempt to make their partner overly reliant on them.

  • Suspicious bruises or injuries
    You may see marks or bruises that can’t be easily explained or the person provides an unlikely or strange explanation. You may also notice a change in the type of clothing that is being worn, such as long-sleeved shirts, and makeup to hide marks and bruises.

  • Alcohol or drug use
    A person who is in an abusive relationship may be encouraged or coerced to use alcohol or drugs, or will use alcohol and drugs in response to the abuse.

  • Sudden changes in mood or personality
    A person in an abusive relationship may exhibit signs depression, anxiety, loss of confidence, preoccupation with her partner, or withdrawal from family and friends, being very secretive or acting out. A person in an abusive relationship may also have noticeable changes in eating or sleeping patterns.

  • Worry about making their partner angry or jealous
    A person who was abused may appear overly concerned about upsetting their partner. They may appear worried about if they are late to meet their partner, talking to other people or participating in activities without their partner.

  • Visible anxiety about making independent decisions without their partner
    They may appear worried about making decisions or feel like they need to get permission to make plans. They may not be able to confirm plans until they check with their partner or they may question their ability to take part in an activity that is impromptu.

  • Sexual coercion and pregnancy
    Teens in abusive relationships are 3x more likely to become pregnant than non-abused teens.

  • Crying easily or overreacting to minor incidents
    A person in an abusive relationship may be living under extreme tension. And abusive relationship creates a significant amount of stress and can people can easily create an overreaction to minor incidents.