Appendix: Additional Information and Research about Adolescent Relationship Abuse

This section provides more in-depth information about ARA. Broadly defined as a pattern of abuse or threat of abuse against adolescent dating partners, ARA occurs across diverse groups and cultures. Although the dynamics of ARA are similar to adult DV, what makes ARA a unique problem are the forms and experience it takes as well as the challenges it poses in seeking and providing services. ARA occurs in different forms, including verbal, emotional, physical, sexual, and digital; and the experience of ARA may have both immediate and long-term effects on young people.

The documents included in this section highlight the widespread problem of ARA, the different types of ARA, and its impacts on young people. These documents draw from various studies that use different measures. Therefore, data presented in these documents vary. These resources can enhance staff understanding and can provide the basis from which to develop project materials.

Photograph of diverse young women.Specific Populations

  • Dating Violence in Communities of Color (PDF, 203KB)
    Women of Color Network, National Resource Center on Domestic Violence. (2008).
    This "Facts & Stats Collection" paper describes specific issues and distinguishing dynamics that confront teens and young adults of color, highlighting types of abuse and warning signs.
  • Teen Dating Violence among Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered Girls (PDF, 39KB) 
    Gunner Gurwitch, The Network/La Red. (n.d.).
    This fact sheet compares violence in lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered (LBT) relationships with violence in heterosexual relationships; discusses tactics of power and control within LBT relationships; highlights barriers faced by LBT youth; and suggests ways to create a welcoming and affirming response.
  • Domestic Violence and LGBTQ Youth (PDF, 33KB) 
    Break the Cycle. (2008).
    This fact sheet presents information on dating and domestic violence among LGBTQ young people and the obstacles faced by LGBTQ youth in seeking help.
  • Transgender Youth and Dating Violence (PDF39KB)
    Break the Cycle. (2008).
    This fact sheet explains what being transgender means and how transgender youth may experience ARA differently. This fact sheet also discusses barriers transgender youth face in seeking help.
  • Runaway and Homeless Youth and Relationship Violence Toolkit 
    National Resource Center on Domestic Violence in collaboration with the Family Violence Prevention and Services Program, Department of Health and Human Services. (2010).
    This toolkit was developed by and for advocates in the runaway and homeless youth and domestic violence and sexual assault prevention fields to help programs create partnerships, meaningful services, and effective intervention and prevention strategies for working with at-risk youth. This toolkit includes many resources that can be used by programs working with runaway and homeless youth.

ARA and Pregnancy

It is important for staff to understand the link between ARA and unintended pregnancy for project participants.

Reproductive coercion includes a spectrum of controlling behaviors that interferes with a person’s reproductive choices such as

  • explicit attempts to impregnate a partner against her wishes;
  • controlling outcomes of a pregnancy;
  • coercing a partner to have unprotected sex; or
  • interfering with birth control methods.

Programs addressing ARA should consider integrating the topic of reproductive coercion into their APP projects. For instance, when defining different types of ARA, programs can include an example of a partner poking holes in a diaphragm or flushing pills down the toilet. Likewise, discussions of contraceptive options can include information about reproductive coercion and pregnancy pressure and how such behavior may impact the choice of contraceptive method.

Digital or Electronic Abuse

  • Technology and Teen Dating Violence (PDF, 130KB)
    Break the Cycle. (2008). 
    This document discusses the challenges service providers face because of advanced technology when working with young people who experience ARA. It also provides suggestions for teaching young people to use technology safely. 
  • Emerging Issues Facing Tweens and Teens (PDF, 112KB) 
    Futures Without Violence. (2013).
    This fact sheet provides facts and statistics about electronic abuse including sexting, cyberbullying, and sexual coercion.  


  • Understanding Teen Dating Violence Fact Sheet (PDF, 177KB) 
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2008).
    This fact sheet notes three types of ARA—physical, emotional, and sexual—and draws on research to show that ARA is a public health problem. This fact sheet also presents CDC’s approach to ARA prevention.
  • The Connection between Dating Violence and Unhealthy Behaviors (PDF, 453KB) 
    Futures Without Violence. (2010).
    This fact sheet presents data from various studies to show the connection between ARA and unhealthy behaviors. It includes information on risks associated with witnessing violence as well as mitigating factors.

Disclaimer: Educational or instructional materials referenced in this toolkit are for informational purposes only. References to these materials do not constitute endorsement by FYSB.

Suggested citation: Kan, M.L., Arndorfer, E., Ashley, O.S., Palen, L., Krieger, K., Gallopin, C., Menard, A., Keene, C., Vance, M.M., Gragg, F., LeTourneau, K.L., & Gremminger, M.G. (2013).Toolkit to incorporate adolescent relationship abuse prevention into existing adolescent pregnancy prevention programming. Washington, DC: Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Family and Youth Services Bureau.



The Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Program’s Training and Technical Assistance and Meeting Logistical Support project led by RTI International for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Family and Youth Services Bureau, under Contract No. HHSP23320035651WC developed this toolkit.

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