Closing out Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month: How Title V Is Taking Action
February 25, 2021

Maura Leahy, MPH, CHES, Program Analyst, Child & Adolescent Health at the Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs

As February comes to an end, so does the annual observance of Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (TDVAM). We wanted to bring additional attention to this important issue by highlighting teen dating violence (TDV) strategies and resources that Title V Maternal and Child Health (MCH) programs use that can elevate TDV prevention year-round.

Adolescence is a unique period of opportunity and growth when young people are making deeper connections with their peers, developing interests and passions, and testing the waters of romantic relationships. This range of relationships are natural parts of a young person’s brain and identify development, but it is vital that these relationships are safe and healthy. Adults have a role to play by creating and supporting safe environments in which adolescents can thrive and grow. Title V can also play a role in supporting programming and capacity geared towards preventing TDV so that adolescents and young adults can experience this stage of development in a safe and healthy manner.

What is TDV and why is it an issue? TDV is a type of intimate partner violence (IPV) that can include four types of behavior: physical violence, sexual violence, emotional or verbal abuse, and stalking. These behaviors can happen in-person or electronically. Since emotional abuse is most common among youth, it is important to recognize the warning signsso that red flags of potential TDV are not overlooked. TDV is much more common than adolescents and adults may realize: 1 in 3 three teens in the U.S. will experience some form of dating violence. Victims of TDV are more likely to experience symptoms of depression and anxiety and to have suicidal thoughts, and these consequences can be long-lasting. Additionally, most adult survivors of IPV first experienced violence when they were adolescents (National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, 2015).

What is Title V doing to prevent TDV? According to their recent MCH action plans, many states incorporate healthy relationship programming through a variety of federal funding streams (such as the Personal Responsibility Education Program, Sexual Risk Avoidance Education Program, Rape Prevention and Education Program), and through broader Positive Youth Development programs. Two main strategies emerged in these efforts: implementing evidence-based curricula and outreach/media campaigns. Here’s a snapshot of what some states are doing:

Resources for Title V programs to promote throughout the year:

Broader Violence Prevention/IPV Resources:


If you or someone you know is victim of domestic violence, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)