Statistics for dating violence
has conducted extensive research during the development of its dating violence prevention programs.
Twenty-one percent of high school girls have been physically or sexually assaulted by someone they dated -- a figure twice as high as previously estimated, a new study shows.Pediatrician Claire Mc Carthy says she talks about healthy relationships with her adolescent patients and asks if sex is consensual, but she says it is hard for doctors to find time to delve into such intimate issues, given that most pediatric appointments last only 15 minutes.Doctors might be able to bridge this gap by providing additional information for parents through handouts in the waiting room, she says.Researchers don't know if any of these events causes the others, however.While it's possible that dating violence could cause thoughts of suicide, it's also possible that children who are depressed are more likely than others to fall into abusive relationships, says Adiaha Spinks-Franklin, a developmental and behavioral pediatrician at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston who was not involved in the new study.
"It has to be taken very seriously."Spinks-Franklin say she has seen violence even among relationships between 10- and 11-year-olds."If a parent is concerned that a child is in an unhealthy relationship, they need to address it, but do it in a way that doesn't make the child shut down," she says.