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Age of consent is an issue that cannot be ignored in the discussion of teenage dating violence.
Teenage sex is regulated in such a way that "age of consent laws render teenagers below a certain age incapable of consent to sexual activity with adults, and sometimes with peers".
It is important to note that although male and female adolescents do not differ in "overall frequency of violence in dating relationships," females are subject to "significantly higher levels of severe violence".
This fact begs the question of whether abuse should be evaluated based on “severity” and how that can and should be measured, or if all abuse should be considered equally harmful.
Prevalence rates varied widely within each population, most likely due to methodological and sampling differences across studies." The authors added, "Few longitudinal studies existed, limiting the extent to which we could identify developmental patterns associated with female perpetrated intimate partner violence." They found a few studies which reported prevalence rates of IPV perpetration among females at two or more time points, which they stated made "it difficult to obtain a clear picture of the developmental patterns associated with this type of violence." There was also only one study that reported on prevalence rates over time for female perpetrated IPV among adolescents.
"This study found a significant increase in prevalence over a six month period; however, they measured lifetime perpetration of IPV, therefore, it is unclear if there was an actual increase or simply an accumulation of violence," stated the authors.
Overall, because children are exposed to relationships early in their life through their parents and being so malleable at a young age, most evidence points to an adverse experience or experiences in childhood as fodder for such behavior in adolescence.
The literature on IPV among adolescents primarily focuses on Caucasian youth, and there are yet no studies which focus specifically on IPV in adolescent same-sex romantic relationships.
Young people ages 12 to 19 experience the highest rates of rape and sexual assault, and people age 18 and 19 experience the highest rates of stalking.Multiple other studies corroborate these findings, citing childhood bullying, assault, and maltreatment as significant indicators for future violence in adolescent dating.Though there has been little explicit study of the relationship between nature and teen dating violence, there has been proven correlation between testosterone levels and violent tendencies that could come to fruition in adolescent dating relationships.A study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health examined the potential association between a spectrum of childhood adverse experiences and physical violence in relationships before age 21 for both members.The subjects were asked questions about violence in their adolescent relationships, as either victim or perpetrator, and their childhood surrounding twelve different adversities: parental death, parental divorce, long-term separation from parent, parental mental illness, parental substance abuse disorder, parental criminality, inter-parental violence, serious physical illness in childhood, physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, and family economic adversity.
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Intimate partner violence (IPV) in adolescents is an important realm of study as, in addition to the usual negative effects of abuse, this violence occurs at a critical period in the social and mental development of a person.