TORONTO: When it comes to teen dating, boys are more likely to report being the victim of violence — hit, slapped, or pushed — than girls, a new study has found.
The researchers found that overall, fewer teens are experiencing physical abuse from their dating partners, with five per cent of teens reporting it in 2013, down from six per cent in 2003.
However, the team also found that 5.8 per cent of boys and 4.2 per cent of girls said they had experienced violence from their partners in the past year.
“A lot of our interventions assume that the girl is always the victim, but these findings tell us that it isn’t always so,” said senior author Elizabeth Saewyc, Professor at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.
“And relationship violence, be it physical, sexual or other forms, and regardless who the perpetrator is, is never OK,” Saewyc added.
For the study, published in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence, the research team analysed 35,900 youth in grade seven to 12 who were in relationships.
The findings highlighted that there is need for more support programmes for both boys and girls who are in relationship, the researcher said.
“Young people who experience violence by their partners are more likely to act out and take unnecessary risks, and also can go into depression or think about or attempt suicide,” said first author Catherine Shaffer from the Simon Fraser University.
“That’s why it’s good to see that decline in dating violence over a 10-year span. It suggests that healthy relationship programmes are making an impact among youth,” Shaffer added.
Health-care providers, parents and care givers, schools and others can protect teens from dating violence by helping them define what healthy relationships looks like, even before their first date, the researchers noted.