Information for Teens: The first stirring of romantic and sexual feelings can be an exciting time for an adolescent, and dating can be lots of fun.

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Nearly three-quarters of students in the ninth-grade report that they are engaging, or have engaged, in dating behavior.

Although dating is a natural and healthy part of growing up, the prevalence of violence in teen dating relationships is alarming.

Because of the long-term effects of dating violence on victims, parents should be aware of the potential for abuse in teen relationships and the signs of an abusive relationship.

If that is not possible, a teen who is experiencing dating violence should turn to her friends for support.

Nonetheless, the reality is that many teens who are victims of abuse at the hands of a romantic partner tell no one.

For teens who cannot bring themselves to tell anyone about what they are going through, there are many non-profit organizations and resource centers that are available to help.Information for Parents Who Fear Their Children May Be Victims of Dating Violence: Before parents know it, their children are adolescents and demonstrating an interest in romantic relationships with their peers.In 2007, approximately ten percent of American teens of both sexes reported that being physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend sometime during the preceding twelve-month period, according to the Youth Risk Behavior Survey, a comprehensive statistical monitoring project conducted on a biennial basis by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).In the same survey, more than 11 percent of teenaged girls reported that they had, at some point, been forced to engage in sexual intercourse against their will.Other studies have shown that one in five girls in high school has suffered physical or sexual abuse at the hands of a boyfriend or intimate partners.Dating violence puts teens at greater risk of physical injury, up to and including death, as well as depression, suicide, drug abuse, unhealthy eating habits, and risky sexual behaviors that can lead to unwanted pregnancy, sexual violence, and serious illnesses, including HIV/AIDS.