Tag Archives: teen dating violence

Student Domestic Violence Leads to Future Economic Insecurity

Recently, the conversation around campus sexual assault has drawn national attention to issues of campus safety. However, as Katie Baker at Buzzfeed pointed out last week, domestic violence on campus is often overlooked despite being as pervasive as sexual assault. Domestic violence can include sexual assault, but can also include physical, emotional, psychological or financial abuse. Women ages 20-24 have the highest lifetime risk of domestic violence, followed by women ages 16-19. A 2014 survey of dating college women found that 43% reported experiencing some form of abusive dating behaviors, with 22% reporting physical abuse, threats of physical abuse or sexual violence. Younger students are also affected: a new CDC survey found that one in five teen girls has experienced dating violence, as well as one in ten teen boys.

Students may be less equipped to recognize and report dating violence due to lack of experience with healthy relationships: around 57% of college students reported finding it difficult to identify dating violence. However, reporting and intervention is critical, since domestic violence among teens may cause long-term harm to educational and career prospects. As students in this age group are in the process of gaining an education that is essential for their future careers and economic security, domestic violence can be a severe barrier to success. Abusers may destroy their partners’ books or school work, or cause injuries that keep them from going to class. They may be emotionally abusive and discourage or attempt to stop their partner from pursuing certain goals. Adolescent girls in abusive relationships are also three times more likely to become pregnant than girls not in violent relationships, which can drastically affect their education and financial stability. Only 38% of girls who have babies before age 18 finish high school by age 22, and they earn $84,000 less during the first 15 years of motherhood than those who give birth at age 20 or 21.

These factors all combine to seriously impact the future earnings potential of a survivor. One ten year longitudinal study found that teen survivors of physical and sexual violence had poorer academic performance and lower academic attainment, which was linked to lower labor force participation, occupational status and income in early adulthood. While this study did not identify whether or not violence was perpetrated by an intimate partner, another recent study of low-income single mothers found that survivors of domestic violence that occurred during adolescence obtained significantly less education than their peers. Each year of education lost was associated with a decrease of $895 in earnings per year.

Although domestic violence among teens and young adults can have negative effects on their future, there are resources to help. Title IX protections, widely publicized for their role in campus sexual assault cases, also apply to domestic violence. Students can contact their Title IX coordinators for accommodations to keep them safe, such as adjusting their class schedule or switching their dorm room. Students may also be able to contact the police, pursue a disciplinary hearing against their abuser, obtain a protection order or access off-campus domestic violence services. However, for any of these resources to work, there must be increased awareness about what domestic violence looks like for young adults and what options are available. Better education is essential for students, families, and school staff and faculty to help recognize domestic violence and provide early intervention so that survivors can succeed academically and prepare for a bright future. WOW’s brief on Adolescent Survivors & Economic Security offers more suggestions on how service providers, justice system professionals, policy makers and educational institutions can better address the needs of teen and young adult survivors.


Teen Dating Violence Hinders Education and Lifetime Earnings

Nearly 4 in 10 adolescents have experienced physical or sexual dating violence. The impacts of dating violence are not limited to only the physical and emotional effects. Today, the Battered Women’s Justice Project hosted a webinar exploring the economic impacts of teen dating violence, with a focus on education and earnings. Multiple scholars addressed varying studies surrounding this highly prevalent issue.

According a study by Dr. Adrienne Adams, teen dating violence hinders economic achievements, thus negatively impacting women’s earnings later in life. Adams found that women who were victimized during adolescence received, on average, 0.5 years less education compared to those who were not victimized. Half of a year of education can mean the difference between completing a degree or not. This makes a large difference in earnings – a woman with a high school diploma earns 57% more than a woman without one.

Another presenter at the webinar, Dr. Krista Chronister, spoke about her study with a group of adolescents who experienced dating violence. Of those she interviewed, 95% experienced a decline in academic performance, some so drastic that teachers started to notice. However, interviews revealed that when teachers attempted to intervene, the victim was often sent to the school counselor, consequently missing more class time, while the perpetrator was sent back to class, furthering the victim’s educational hindrance.

Safety planning in schools is essential, according to Michele Paolella of Day One, a direct service provider specific to teen dating violence in New York. Paolella used the term “adultism” to describe the idea that most adults believe young people cannot make their own decisions. However, Paolella argued that young people are capable of making their own decisions regarding safety planning because they are the experts of their own lives and understand the situation the best. She explained that teens can be prevented from attending school, afraid of attending school, or forced to miss school to work due to their abusive partner and that there are many steps school officials can take to assist a survivor.

While these studies and testimonies shed light on how teen dating violence impacts survivors’ education and later lifetime earnings, there is still limited research exploring the affects of teen dating violence on women’s economic trajectories over a lifetime. Research regarding dating violence should not be limited to adults because young people’s education impacts their economic security later in life. It is essential that these efforts are continued to protect teens from the devastating life-long consequences of dating violence.

To further explore the economic impacts of teen dating and sexual violence and to learn about promising practices, download the Economic Security for Survivors Project’s recent population policy brief on Adolescent Survivors and Economic Security.