Teen Dating Violence


young adultsTeen dating violence (TDV) occurs between two people in a close relationship and includes four types of behavior: physical violence, sexual violence, stalking and psychological aggression. TDV can take place in person or electronically, and it affects millions of U.S. teens each year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly one in nine female teens and one in 13 male teens report experiencing physical dating violence in the last 12 months. Additionally, approximately one in seven female teens and one in nine male teens report experiencing sexual dating violence in the last 12 months.

Unhealthy relationships during adolescence can disrupt emotional development and contribute to other long-term negative effects. According to the CDC, teens who experience dating violence are more likely to exhibit antisocial behaviors, engage in unhealthy behaviors such as tobacco, drug and alcohol use, experience depression and anxiety, and consider suicide. These symptoms can continue into adulthood. Moreover, a long-term consequence of unhealthy relationships in adolescence is the increased risk of problems in future relationships. For example, individuals who experience TDV in high school are more likely to be revictimized in college.

Prevention initiatives include early education about safe dating practices. Efforts that provide education and information about healthy relationships often include components that address problem-solving skills and avoidance of risky behaviors. Dating Matters, a CDC initiative, raises awareness about teen dating violence and includes preventive strategies for individuals, peers, families, schools and neighborhoods.

Policymakers can play a role in preventing teen dating violence. At least 23 states have laws that allow, urge or require school boards to develop or include curriculum on teen dating violence. States have also adopted teen dating violence awareness weeks or months to bring attention to prevention and safe dating practices.   

To find up-to-date information about injury prevention legislation, including teen dating violence prevention, please visit NCSL's Injury Prevention Legislation DatabaseThis database allows you to search legislation by state, topic, keyword, year, status or primary sponsor.

To learn about other topics and additional resources, please return to the injury and violence prevention overview page.

State Laws on Teen Dating Violence

(as of July 2014)

Below is a list of enacted legislation through 2014 that addresses teen dating violence. To view current state actions related to teen dating violence, and other injury and violence prevention topics, please visit NCSL's Injury and Violence Prevention Legislation Database.

 State  Description of Law


Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §15-712.01 Allows school districts to incorporate dating abuse information that is age appropriate into the school district's existing health curriculum for pupils in grades seven through twelve.


Calif. Educ. Code § 33530-33545 Includes sexual abuse prevention education in the “Health Framework for California Public Schools.” Requires inclusion of discussion of healthy boundaries for relationships, how to recognize potentially harmful and abusive relationships and refusal skills to overcome peer pressure and to avoid high-risk activities.

Colorado Colo., Sess. Laws, Chap. 303 (2013 HB 1081) Creates the comprehensive human sexuality education grant program in the department of public health and environment. Requires education programs to include instruction regarding the prevention of sexual violence in dating and teaching young people how to recognize and respond safely and effectively in situations where sexual or physical violence may be occurring.


2010 Conn. Acts, P.A. 91 (2010 HB 5315) Includes teen dating violence and domestic violence education as part of the in-service training program for certified teachers, administrators and pupil personnel.

2010 Conn. Acts, P.A. 137 (2010 HB 5246) Requires the Commissioner of Public Health to develop one public service announcement issued by the Department of Public Health through a televised broadcast for the purpose of preventing teen dating and family violence. 


Vol.77 Del. Laws, Chap. 357 Requires school districts and charter schools to establish a policy on responding to Teen Dating Violence and Sexual Assault, including guidelines on mandatory reporting and confidentiality, a protocol for responding to incidents of Teen Dating Violence and Sexual Assault and training on the issue. The law also requires school districts and charter schools to add comprehensive healthy relationships programming as part of the student health classes.


2010 Fla. Laws, Chap. 217 (2010 SB 642/HB 467) Requires a comprehensive health education taught in the public schools to include a component on teen dating violence and abuse for students in grades 7 through 12. Would require district school boards to adopt and implement a dating violence and abuse policy and provides policy requirements. Also would require the Department of Education to develop a model policy that includes school personnel training.

Fla. Stat. § 784.046  A victim of dating violence that has reasonable cause to believe he or she is in imminent danger of becoming the victim of another act of dating violence, or any person who has reasonable cause to believe he or she is in imminent danger of becoming the victim of an act of dating violence, or the parent or legal guardian of any minor child who is living at home and who seeks an injunction for protection against dating violence on behalf of that minor child, has standing in the circuit court to file a restraining order against the accused dating violence abuser.


Ga. Code Ann. § 20-2-314 (2003 SB 346)  The State Board of Education is required to develop a rape prevention and personal safety education program and a program for preventing teen dating violence for grades 8 through 12. Local boards may implement such programs at any time and for any grade level local boards find appropriate, and the state board shall encourage the implementation of such programs. In addition, the state board shall make information regarding such programs available to the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia.


2013 Ill. Laws, P.A. 190 (2013 HB 3379) Amends the “Critical Health Problems and Comprehensive Health Education Act” and requires school boards to adopt a policy that: states that teen dating violence is unacceptable and is prohibited and that each student has the right to a safe learning environment; and incorporates age-appropriate education about teen dating violence into new or existing training programs for students in grades 7 through 12 and school employee.

Ill. Rev. Stat. ch. 105, §110/3 (2009 HB 973) Amends the Critical Health Problems and Comprehensive Health Education Act. Provides that the Comprehensive Health Education Program may include instruction on teen dating violence for specified grade levels.

Ill. Laws, P.A. 95-876 (2007 SB 2023/HB 1330) Requires the State Board of Education to convene an Ensuring Success in School Task Force to develop policies and procedures for addressing the educational and related needs of youth who are parents, expectant parents, or victims of domestic or sexual violence to ensure their ability to stay in school, and successfully complete their education. Adds one member appointed by the Minority Leader of the Senate and one member appointed by the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives to the Task Force. The Task Force will issue a final report to the General Assembly in Spring of 2009.


Ind. Code §20-19-3-10 Requires the department of education to identify or develop model dating violence education materials and a model for dating violence response policies and reporting.


La. Rev. Stat. Ann. §17.81 Requires the governing authority of each public school to provide students in grades seven through 12 enrolled in health education instruction about teen dating violence.


Md. Education Code. Ann. §7-411.1 Allows the state board of education to encourage county boards to incorporate age-appropriate lessons on dating violence into the county boards' health education curriculum.


2010 Mass. Acts, Chap. 256 (2010 SB 2583) Requires school districts to implement a specific policy to address teen dating violence in public schools. These policies are required to clearly state that teen dating violence will not be tolerated, and need to include guidelines for addressing alleged incidents of teen dating violence. 

2010 Mass. Acts, Chap. 92 (2010 SB 2404) Requires the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to establish standards that will provide for instruction in the issues of nutrition, physical education, AIDS education, violence prevention, including teen dating violence, bullying prevention, conflict resolution and drug, alcohol and tobacco abuse prevention.

Neb. Rev. Stat.§ 43 Sec. 79-2,142 (2009 LB 63) (originally LB 64, but added to LB 63 during session) Section 43-47  adopts the Lindsay Burke Act passed in Rhode Island in 2007. Would require the state department of education to develop a model policy for schools to address teen dating violence through their curriculum.

New Jersey

N.J. Stat. Ann. §18A:35-4.23 (2003 SB 487/AB 3081) Creates the Domestic Violence and Child Abuse Education Fund and allows the board of education to teach the psychology and dynamics of teen dating violence when appropriate in elementary, middle and high school.


Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §3313.60, 3313.666, and 3319.073 (2009 HB 19) Enacts the Tina Croucher Act. Requires school districts to adopt a dating violence prevention policy and to include dating violence prevention education within the health education curriculum.

2007 HB119 (Appropriations Bill) Requires the  Franklin County Child and Family Health Services  to support the Compdrug Teen Dating Violence Prevention Project. Comp Drug  Inc. is an organization that offers services in prevention, intervention and treatment programs for persons with substance abuse problems and the largest provider of institutional and community based corrections programs.


2012 Or. Laws, Chap. 69 Directs each school district board to adopt policy related to teen dating violence.


2010 Pa. Laws, Act 104 (2010 HB 101) Amends the terms and courses of study in the Public School Code of 1949 and  provides for dating violence education.

Rhode Island

R.I. Gen. Laws §16-85, 16-21-30, and 16-22-24 (2007 SB 875/HB 6166) Establishes the Lindsay Anne Burke Act which requires the Department of Education to develop a model dating violence policy to assist school districts in developing policies for dating violence reporting and response. The model policy shall be implemented on or before April 1, 2008. Each school district's policy should include a policy for responding to incidents of dating violence and to provide dating violence education to students, parents, staff, faculty and administrators, in order to prevent dating violence and to address incidents involving dating violence. Click here to view Rhode Island Department of Education's policy on teen dating violence.


Tenn. Code Ann. §49.1-220 (2006 SB 595) This act urges the Department of Education to develop a sexual violence/teen dating violence awareness curriculum for presentation at least once in grades 7 and 8 and at least once and preferably twice in grades 9 through 12. The curriculum is intended to increase awareness of teen dating violence and sexual violence, including rape prevention strategies, resources available, etc.


2011 House Bill 2496 (signed by Governor 6/17/2011) Creates a teen dating violence court program that includes a 12-week course to educate children who engage in dating violence and encourage them to refrain from engaging in that conduct. This law also provides for the deferral of adjudication and dismissal of certain dating violence cases.

Tex. Education Code Ann. §37.0821 (2007 HB121) Schools are required to develop and implement a dating violence policy. The school policy should provide training for teachers and administrators and awareness education for students and parents. It should also enforce protective orders or school based alternative including counseling for affected students. The policy is also required to addressing safety planning.


2011 Va. Acts, Chap. 634 Requires that any family life education curriculum offered by a local school division is to include the Standards of Learning objectives related to dating violence and the characteristics of abusive relationships to be taught at least once in middle school and at least twice in high school. (SB 906 of 2011)

Va. Code Ann. § 22.1-207.1 (2007 HB 1916) Develops curriculum guidelines for teaching teen dating violence and all family life education in schools. The guidelines promote parental involvement, foster positive self concepts and provide mechanisms for coping with peer pressure and the stresses of modern living according to the students' developmental stages and abilities. The Board shall also establish requirements for appropriate training for teachers of family life education, which shall include training in instructional elements to support the various curriculum components.


Wash. Rev. Code §28A.300.185 (2005 HB 1252) Requires the state school superintendent to develop a model curriculum. The model curriculum shall include, but is not limited to, instruction on developing conflict management skills, communication skills, domestic violence and dating violence, financial responsibility, and parenting responsibility.



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