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Dating violence, which often involves "common assaults" such as verbal threats, pushing, slapping, punching and any injury that requires first aid, is up across the country, a report from Statistics Canada says.
The numbers, which encompass a wide range of relationships (boyfriends and girlfriends, exes and many permutations of intimate entanglements), were compiled from police reports from urban centres, and they exposed a troubling trend: Victim numbers doubled to 17,028 in 2010 from 8,596 in 2004.
During the preteen and teen years, young people are learning the skills they need to form positive, healthy relationships with others, and it is therefore an ideal time to promote healthy relationships and prevent patterns of teen dating violence that can last into adulthood.
Learn more about characteristics of healthy and unhealthy relationships.
Researchers found that the rate of physical dating violence for a random sample of Canadian students who participated in the curriculum was significantly lower than the control group (9.8 percent versus 7.4 percent).
Significance wasn’t maintained for those who had been dating in the previous year.
The study looked at the effectiveness of a classroom curriculum, a school intervention at the building level, and a combination of the two.
The classroom intervention included six sessions in which there was an emphasis on the consequences of perpetrating teen dating violence (including state laws and penalties), the construction of gender roles, and healthy relationships.
Ending Violence is a curriculum designed for high school students that focuses on educating youth about the legal repercussions and protections for perpetrators and victims of dating violence.
However, boys in the intervention group were significantly less likely than boys in the control group to engage in dating violence (2.7 percent, compared to 7.1 percent).
Girls in both groups showed the same rates of dating violence (11.9 percent versus 12 percent).
Similar to spousal violence, much of the violence in dating scenarios happens after the relationship is over: 57 per cent of perpetrators were exes, according to another Statscan article, this one from 2008.
"Violence" included assault, sexual assault and homicide, as well as threats and criminal harassment, a trademark of dating violence since many of the victims and offenders do not live together.