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However, many teens do not report unhealthy behaviors because they are afraid to tell family and friends.

“We call it group dating, and we believe it can be really healthy and protective,” says Jennifer Connolly, a psychology professor at York University in Toronto who specializes in teen relationships.

Unfortunately, teen dating violence—the type of intimate partner violence that occurs between two young people who are, or who were once in, an intimate relationship—is a serious problem in the United States.

A national survey found that ten percent of teens, female and male, had been the victims of physical dating violence within the past year and can increase the risk of physical injury, poor academic performance, binge drinking, suicide attempts, unhealthy sexual behaviors, substance abuse, negative body image and self-esteem, and violence in future relationships.

It focuses on 11-14 year olds and includes multiple prevention components for individuals, peers, families, schools, and neighborhoods.

All of the components work together to reinforce healthy relationship messages and reduce behaviors that increase the risk of dating violence.

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