ARCHIVED - Violence in Dating Relationships



Dating violence is a significant and widespread social problem. It is expressed in a range of harmful behaviours — from threats, to emotional maltreatment, to physical and sexual aggression. While some forms of abusive behaviour, such as acts of physical assault, could result in charges under the Criminal Code of Canada, others, such as ridiculing or otherwise being verbally abusive, are harmful but not criminal offences.

Dating violence has become an issue of increasing concern to researchers and practitioners over the past three decades. This paper considers how dating violence is defined, what its consequences are, and what can be done about it.

What is Dating Violence?

For the purpose of this paper, dating violence is defined as any intentional physical, sexual or psychological assault on a person by a dating partner.Footnote 1 Dating partners include both casual dates and individuals in long-term dating relationships. All three forms of abuse — physical, sexual and emotional — can coexist, or the abuse can be characterized by any one of the three.

Studies indicate that dating violence can happen to anyone, regardless of age, race, sexual orientation, socio-economic status or location of residence. It happens in both adolescent and adult relationships. A study in New Brunswick estimated that dating violence may begin as early as age 13.Footnote 2

Physical Violence occurs when one partner uses physical force to control the other. It includes a range of assaults, from pushing, shoving and grabbing to choking, burning and assaulting with a weapon. Each of these acts could result in charges under the Criminal Code.

Physical violence is often characterized as moderate or severe.Footnote 3 Moderate acts of violence are defined as acts for which the risk of permanent harm or injury is low.Footnote 4 These are the most common forms of physical violence in dating relationships. In contrast, severe violence includes acts for which the risk of permanent or serious injury is high. According to a Canadian study, severe violence is relatively rare.Footnote 5 It includes behaviour such as hitting a partner with a hard object or assault with weapons.

While the distinction between severe and moderate violence is common in the research literature, it is important to remember that the injuries resulting from physical violence depend on many factors, including the vulnerability of the victim (e.g., disability or a prior history of abuse), the victim’s resilience, and the social support that he or she receives, including personal and wider social supports. While the risk of physical injury may be moderate or extreme, any physical violence carries an accompanying risk of emotional harm.

Sexual Violence includes coercing a dating partner to engage in sexual activity, using force to attempt or to have sexual relations, and attempting or having intercourse with a person who is under the influence of drugs or alcoholFootnote 6 and is unable to resist or give consent. This includes assaults on partners who have been given “date rape” drugs such a Rohypnol (also known as roofies, roachies, La Rocha and The Forget Pill), G.H.B or gamma hydroxybutyrate (also known as Liquid Exctasy, Gib, Liquid E and Easy Lay), ketamine (also known as K, Ket and Special K) and MDMA — 3,4 methylenedioxymethamphetamine (also known as Ecstasy, XTC, X and Bean).Footnote 7

Emotional or Psychological Abuse includes insulting or swearing at, belittling or threatening a dating partner. It can also include destroying a partner’s property or possessions and isolating him or her from friends and relatives. Emotional abuse is common in dating relationships.Footnote 8 Research indicates that emotional abuse that is denigrating and employs intimidation is more likely to turn physically violent than other forms of emotional abuse.Footnote 9

Different Forms of Dating Violence

In addition to categorizing the types of dating violence in this way (physical, sexual and emotional; moderate and severe), sociological studies distinguish among the forms of dating violence according to other qualitative characteristics, such as frequency (how often violence is used) and the motives for its use. Johnson, for example, has described four types of dating violence: intimate (patriarchal) terrorism, common couple violence, violent resistance and mutual violent control.

Intimate (Patriarchal) Terrorism may be defined as the systematic use of violence and other abusive behaviour to control a partner. Violence in these types of relationships is generally frequent and escalates to severe violence. This type of dating violence is also characterized by attempts to isolate and economically subordinate the abused partner. Straus (1999) estimated that it was present in less than 1.5% of the violent marital relationships that he studied.Footnote 11 Johnson argues that men are more likely than women to use this form of violence, but its use by either men or women is rare.

Common Couple Violence is defined by Johnson as an intermittent use of violence against a partner with the intent to control the immediate situation. The use of violence is conflict-based and, while it reoccurs, it does not usually escalate to severe violence. Johnson suggests that this is the most common form of dating violence and that men and women use it to equal degrees.

Violent Resistance occurs when violence is used against partners who are themselves violent and controlling. It is most commonly used against a partner who is using intimate terrorism.

Mutual Violent Control identifies violent exchanges in which both partners are violent and controlling. It is the least common type of violence of the four in Johnson’s typology.

How Widespread is the Problem of Dating Violence?

Several studies indicate that dating violence is a serious problem in Canada, but it is still difficult to calculate its exact extent.Footnote 12 One reason for this is that different researchers use different definitions and questions to measure abusive experiences. Some researchers use legal (i.e., Criminal Code) definitions of abuse, whereas others include a broader definition based on potential for harm, both emotional and physical. Some researchers ask about acts, and others ask about both the act and the feelings or response the victim had in reaction to it. Some research considers lifetime exposure to dating violence (prevalence), whereas other research looks at dating violence within a specific time period (incidence).

We do know a number of things about the nature and extent of the problem. Dating violence begins as early as grade school. Price et al. (2001) surveyed almost 1,700 young people in grades 7, 9 and 11. Overall, 29% of the girls and 13% of the boys reported that they had experienced dating violence.Footnote 13 Twenty-two percent of girls and 12% of boys reported having had an upsetting psychological and/or physical dating abuse experience. In addition, 19% of girls and 4% of boys reported having had upsetting sexually coercive experiences. In other words, girls report higher victimization rates than boys. In contrast, studies that ask only about the respondent’s use of dating violence find that girls and boys are equally likely to report that they have used violence or that girls are more likely than boys to use violence in a relationship.Footnote 14

While sexual violence has been studied primarily within heterosexual dating relationships, a recent study that included heterosexual and same-sex dating relationships found similar levels of sexual violence victimization for both women and men — 39% and 30% respectively.Footnote 15 In this study, men involved in same-sex and bisexual dating reported higher rates of sexual violence victimization than men involved only in heterosexual relationships. This suggests that men are being victimized by other men, but further investigation is needed.

Straus (2004) surveyed students at 31 universities in 16 different countries regarding the prevalence of violence against dating partners. He reported that there are high rates of dating violence among university students worldwide. For example, 29% of students physically assaulted a dating partner in the previous 12 months.Footnote 16

In their 1993 study, DeKeseredy and Kelly found that 17.2% of male university students reported using physical violence against their dating partners as compared with 43.3% of female students. The most commonly reported form of violence used by both men and women was “pushing or grabbing a partner” (15.4% of men and 33.0% of the women reported doing this). These findings are not matched by those of other surveys. Harned (2002) found no difference between men and women in their use of violence. Swan and Snow (2002) reported that 27.9% of women and 20.2% of men (aged 27 to 33) used physical violence.Footnote 17

While there is some debate about whether women may use more or an equal amount of physical violence against dating partners, there is no debate that women’s use of medical intervention consequent to suffering intimate partner violence is greater than men’s. Women, on average, suffer higher rates of physical harm as a result of intimate partner violence than do men. Simonelli et al. report a range of estimates of how common it is for physical injury to result from violence in dating relationships (17%–52% for men and perpetrating violence. It is ultimately the 54%–70% for women). A number of reasons perpetrator who is responsible for the attack, have been suggested for this, including the not the victim.Footnote 22 fact that men tend to be physically larger and stronger.Footnote 18


One study suggests that the best predictor of being a victim of physical violence is perpetrating it oneself. This is because much violence is bidirectional: “an individual reports being both the victim and the perpetrator of dating violence”.Footnote 19 Bidirectional violence may involve retaliation or self-defence. For the most part these incidents cause minor injuries such as bruising, but about 8% of men and 9% of women reported having had injuries severe enough to require medical attention.Footnote 20

Emotional violence is also widespread in university and college dating relationships. Harned (2002) reported that emotional violence is so common in dating relationships as to be considered almost normative. In a 1993 study of Canadian university and college students, DeKeseredy and Kelly (1993) found that 80.2% of men and 86.2% of women reported having experienced at least one incident of emotional violence in their dating relationships.Footnote 21

What Contributes to Violence in Dating Relationships?

Factors that contribute to dating violence can be categorized depending on whether they relate primarily to the individual, the relationship, the immediate social context, the influence of peers or the wider societal context. It is a complex interaction of these factors that creates the circumstances under which an individual acts out violently against a dating partner.

Individual Factors: Research on individual factors distinguishes between those people at risk of victimization and those at risk of An individual who was exposed to violence as a child (in the family, school and/or the community) is more likely to perpetrate dating violence.Footnote 23 In particular, girls who witness their fathers using violence and boys who witness their mothers using violence are more likely to be violent in dating relationships.Footnote 24 This has been explained through social learning theory, which argues that we learn to use violence through witnessing it and being rewarded or seeing others rewarded for using it.Footnote 25 We need to be cautious to avoid saying that witnessing violence leads us to use violence. While it has an impact, most children (70%) who witness violence in their homes do not use violence against dating partners.Footnote 26

Individuals who hold attitudes that support the use of violence to settle conflicts or interpersonal problems are also more likely to perpetrate violence.Footnote 27 In addition, individuals who have higher levels of anger toward others and who are less willing to control their anger are more likely to perpetrate violence.Footnote 28 Finally, not surprisingly, individuals holding attitudes supporting dating violence are more likely to use it against a dating partner.Footnote 29 Studies of male violence against women have found that men who have negative or patriarchal attitudes toward women and who have beliefs that support interpersonal violence are more likely to be violent in dating relationships.Footnote 30

Researchers have also investigated the psychopathology of perpetrators in an attempt to understand dating violence. They have considered the role of personality disorders, exposure to trauma, developmental delays, attachment problems and emotional problems in the use of violence. While such explanations are important, they run the risk of excusing the behaviour and of failing to view the perpetrator as responsible. Emotional problems matter in dating violence and are particularly important in treating perpetrators, but they do not excuse the violence. Although some people who use dating violence do have emotional problems, they are often able to control their use of violence (e.g., they only “lose” control against intimates and in nonpublic settings). This suggests that while emotional problems matter, they too do not wholly determine violent behaviour.


Howard and Wang (2003) developed a risk profile of women who experienced dating violence. They found that adolescent female victimization is related to feelings of sadness or hopelessness, binge drinking and cocaine or inhalant use. They also found that ethnicity is a factor in victimization.Footnote 31 This study examined young women after they had been abused, which makes it difficult to assess whether these features are the result of the violence or are features that make individuals more vulnerable to abuse.

Foshee et al. (2001) considered individuals’ prior and post abuse experiences. They report that “having friends who are victims of dating violence, using alcohol and being of a race other than white predicted dating violence perpetration by females”. These are important findings because they distinguish between factors that contribute to dating violence and factors that reflect the social/psychological aftermath of violence.Footnote 32

Howard and Wang (2003), in another retrospective study, reported that for adolescent males, having sad/hopeless feelings, having a history of physical fights with individuals other than dating partners, having multiple sexual partners, and showing patterns of non-use of condoms and attempted suicide were all related to reporting victimization of physical abuse.

Relationship Factors: Recent research suggests that relationship factors are more important than individual factors in determining whether a relationship becomes violent.Footnote 33 Specific features of interactions that could contribute to dating violence have been identified. Perhaps the most important factor is related to power.

Dating violence has been viewed as an attempt to control a partner — that is, to exercise power over the other. Johnson’s classification indicates that while power is important, it is not simply about controlling the other person.Footnote 34 Rather, it is about being able to exercise power when and where an individual deems appropriate. Thus, it is not the absolute level of power an individual has in a relationship that is important;Footnote 35 rather, it is dissatisfaction with the relative levels of power.Footnote 36 Overall, violence is less likely when couples share decision-making and power. This is because violence often occurs in the context of disagreements about who should have dominant influence and make decisions.Footnote 37

Power within relationships may be affected by age, in that individuals who are older than their partners expect and/or demand more power over them. A study of adolescent males experiencing violence from same-sex dating partners found that the risk of violence is increased for men who have dating partners older than themselves, when compared with those who are dating partners of the same age or younger.Footnote 38

Relationship status also affects the likelihood of violence. Relationship status may be defined as the degree of commitment between the partners, categorized as casual or serious. Sexual violence is more common in casual relationships.Footnote 39 Psychological abuse is more common in more serious relationships and increases with the number of serious relationships one has had over time.Footnote 40 Physical abuse is more common after a serious commitment has been made.Footnote 41

Contextual Factors: Violence often occurs in the context of stress within the relationship, or when there is significant stress in the life of one or both partners. A large proportion of abusive incidents occur when partners are drunk or high.Footnote 42 Use of drugs and alcohol seems to reduce inhibitions to use violence, but it does not cause people to be violent.

Feeling angry and/or jealousFootnote 43 is also a reason commonly given for using dating violence. Again, these feelings do not excuse or explain the use of violence; they co-occur and are often used as justifications by the abuser.

Peer-related Factors: Peers can influence the use of violence within a relationship and determine whether people stay with violent partners. For men and boys, having peers who use violence is a predictor of their using violence.Footnote 44 These peers provide support and justification for violent and controlling behaviour.Footnote 45 Female adolescents are also influenced by peers who use dating violence. For women, having peers who are victims of dating violence predicts a greater likelihood of their perpetrating it themselves.Footnote 46

Social Factors: Ultimately, the causes of dating violence are also rooted in our society and its norms and value systems.Footnote 47 Gender roles are particularly important. Some researchers believe that couple violence is rooted in gender inequality.Footnote 48 There are important differences between men’s and women’s use of violence, in how they experience violence and in the consequences of their violence. These are linked to what we believe are appropriate roles and behaviours for men and women.Footnote 49

Our social understanding of violence, including how and when we should use it, is also important.Footnote 50 While most people condemn the use of violence in general, some advocate its use in particular situations. This includes the belief that it is acceptable to slap a girlfriend who has “cheated” or that girls have to threaten their boyfriends “so that they will listen.”Footnote 51

Because dating violence is socially based, prevention programs need to address not only the specific individuals deemed to be “at risk” but also the social factors that contribute to the behaviour.

Young People and Dating Violence Footnote 52  

While there are many similarities between the dating violence experienced by adults and that experienced by young people, the latter face unique risks.

Dating violence among young people should be taken seriously by those who are most likely to know about it — other young people. Peers are particularly important because most young people experiencing dating violence go to their friends for advice and support.

Footnote 53 When peers label the behaviour as abusive and wrong, young people are more likely to seek help. However, peers may also be supportive of the use of violence. This can increase the risk that the violence will continue and makes it imperative that young people be educated about the consequences of dating violence.

Young people who are aware of dating violence should not respond by blaming the victim or by downplaying the harm and the risks. Rather, they should acknowledge that the violence is a problem and encourage the victims to seek help in order to protect themselves.

If you are a young person and suspect that a friend or classmate is experiencing dating violence, it is important to provide support and to help your friend recognize that the behaviour is unacceptable. Making this connection is key to ensuring that young people receive help and get out of violent relationships.Footnote 54 For information on where young people can find help, see “Where to go for Help”.

If you are involved in a violent dating relationship and your friends are supportive of your use of violence or of having violence used against you, seek better sources of support. A number of resources for young people are listed below. In addition, if you are in school, go to see a guidance counsellor or a teacher you trust. It may also be important to consider reporting to parents, your doctor or a community health counsellor.

A Dating Violence Checklist

Below is a checklist of attitudes and behaviours that research has associated with dating violence. If you answer yes to these questions, you may be supporting others in their use of violence and are more likely to use dating violence yourself. If you are engaging in any of these behaviours, you are engaging in dating violence and should reconsider your behaviour patterns.

  1. Do you believe that it is acceptable to use violence to resolve conflicts?
  2. Do you believe that violence against a dating partner is acceptable or normal?
  3. Do you believe that you should be in control in your dating relationships and that your partner should obey you?
  1. Have you ever used violence in your dating relationships?
  2. Do you threaten your dating partner(s) with harm — physical, emotional or sexual?
  3. Do you believe that emotional, sexual or physical violence is harmless?
  4. Do you believe your partner is responsible for any violence you direct at him or her?
  5. Do you belittle or put down your dating partner?
  6. Do you try to control your partner and try to make all the decisions?
  7. Do you give the orders in your relationship?
  8. Do you limit or attempt to limit whom your partner sees, where they go and what they do?
  9. Do you feel jealous when your dating partner talks to other potential partners or spends time with other people?

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Myths about Dating Violence
Myth Reality
It will never happen to me. Dating violence can happen to you. It is not limited to a particular social class, to any ethnic or racial group, or to heterosexual relationships. It is also not simply dependent on you and your values. It also depends on the values of your dating partner.
I can tell if a person is a “hitter” just by looking at them. Perpetrators of violence come in all shapes and sizes. They do not fit media stereotypes. You can’t tell by looking at people.
Things will get better. Once violence begins in a dating relationship, it usually gets worse unless there is some kind of intervention. Abusers need to learn new strategies for dealing with conflict, and they need to learn new attitudes about violence and relationships.Footnote 55
There is only a problem when my partner is under stress, is drunk or high, or when there is a conflict in our relationship. Otherwise things are fine. While violence may be more common in these situations, they are not the cause of violence. They are used as excuses and justifications.Footnote 56
Jealousy is a sign of love. Jealousy is a common excuse given for using dating violence. Jealousy does not justify the use of violence against a dating partner. In addition, jealousy can be a warning sign of intimate terrorism in which the perpetrator is controlling and will escalate violence to achieve control.
Victims of dating violence provoke the abuse. Blaming the victim is unacceptable. Even when a person is provocative, using violence in response is not acceptable. It never solves problems, although it often silences the victim.
Sexual abuse in dating relationships happens because we cannot control our sexual urges. If a dating partner sexually arouses the other, they deserve what they get. We are capable of controlling our sexual urges. That’s why forcing sex on another person can be the basis for criminal charges. Even if a dating partner has agreed to petting or necking, they still have the right to control their own body. When a dating partner says NO or NO MORE, indicating that they want your sexual contact to stop, you are required by law to stop.
“Name calling” doesn’t hurt. “Name calling” hurts; that’s why people use it. Psychological or emotional abuse can damage self-confidence. It can be more devastating than other forms of intimate violence.Footnote 57
It’s o.k. for my partner to use violence — that’s what my friends say. If your friends are supporting a partner who is being abusive — excusing or justifying the behaviour — you need to go elsewhere for help. School counsellors, support groups, helplines and a range of web-based resources are listed in the sections on “What You Can Do” and “Where to go for Help”.

What are the Health Impacts of Dating Violence?

Dating violence can have a wide range of negative health consequences. These include harm that results immediately from the violence itself and also unhealthy coping mechanisms that can have both short-term and long-term health effects.

Physical Impacts

Physical injuries range from minor cuts and bruises to serious injuries, including broken bones and other injuries requiring hospitalization. Research indicates that women suffer more serious physical harm from dating violence than men.Footnote 58

Sexual violence has a range of physical consequences. It brings not only the risk of physical injury but also the additional risks of contracting AIDS or other sexually transmitted infections and, for women assaulted by men, the risk of pregnancy.

Psychological Impacts

The emotional harm for men and women who experience dating violence can be extensive. Manifestations of emotional harm include depression, anxiety, feelings of sadness and hopelessness, and suicidal thoughts and attempts.Footnote 59 In cases of severe violence, survivors may experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).Footnote 60 Women who suffer sexual abuse often experience concerns about their body shape and physical appearance.Footnote 61

Unhealthy Coping Strategies

Coping with dating violence can also lead to health problems. Survivors are more likely to use and abuse alcohol, drugs and tobacco.Footnote 62 They are more likely to withdraw from school relationships, putting them at increased risk of dropping out of school.Footnote 63 Youth, both male and female, who are victims of dating violence arealsomorelikelytoengageinharmful eating behavioursFootnote 64 (e.g., use of laxatives, dieting pills, vomiting or fasting, and binge eating).Footnote 65 They are also significantly more likely than nonvictimized peers to attempt suicide.Footnote 66

What You Can Do

If you are being abused, seek help. Informed counsellors can help you deal with the emotional and physical consequences of the abuse (see “Where to go for Help”).

If you suspect that someone you know is being abused, listen and be supportive. They are not to blame for the abuse. Tell them that what is happening is wrong and that no one deserves to be abused.

Where to go for Help

Many communities have services for victims of abuse and for abusers. These organizations may provide you with educational support, information and/or emotional support.

The Stop Family Violence (NCFV) is Canada’s national resource centre for information about violence and other forms of abuse in relationships of kinship, intimacy, dependency or trust. The NCFV provides a variety of information resources, including national service directories, as well as referral assistance to help connect individuals with resource people and organizations responding to abuse in interpersonal relationships. For more information, please contact the NCFV toll-free at 1-800-267-1291 or visit the NCFV website at

In schools, teachers and guidance counsellors are available to provide support, information and contacts for counselling.

Nationally, the Canadian Red Cross and the YM/YWCA both offer a variety of local supports and information. The Red Cross’s RespectEd program ( article.asp?id=000294&tid=030) provides education and other support for youth.

You can also contact the Kids Help Phone, Canada’s only toll-free, national telephone counselling, referral and internet service for children and youth (Kids Help Phone 1-800-668-6868/ An online resource centre for parents is also available at http://www.parent

The Centre for Children and Families in the Justice System is devoted to helping children and families involved in the justice system, including those who are victims of crime or abuse. Website:

If you are experiencing sexual abuse, you can contact your local rape crisis centre. While most centres can support heterosexual women, not all are able to provide support to heterosexual or gay men or lesbians.

Some cities have helplines for bisexual, gay and lesbian youth. In Toronto you can call:

(a) The David Kelley Lesbian and Gay Community Counselling Program – Family Service Association of Metropolitan Toronto

Tel: 416-595-9618 Address: 355 Church St., Toronto M5B 1Z8

(b) TAGL (Toronto Area Gays and Lesbians) Tel: 416-964-6600

(c) Lesbian/Gay/Bi Youth Line Tel: 416-962-9688

If you are a perpetrator of dating violence, getting help can be difficult. Most services are set up for victims; however, counselling and education in anger management techniques are available in many communities.

YOUCAN, a national youth organization has a Peacebuilders Program available in selected sites across the country.

Leave Out ViolencE (LOVE) http://www. is a leading Canadian not-for-profit youth violence prevention organization. A newspaper, books and programs are available for at-risk youth who have lived with violence as perpetrators, victims or witnesses.

Prevention and Early Intervention

While it is important to assist the victims and perpetrators of dating violence, it is equally important to intervene before violence begins.

The Stop Family Violence offers more than 140 publications, a video collection and a library collection, including several resources, addressing dating violence.

There are programs available from other sources to educate people on the issue of dating violence. These include training programs for teachers and other professionals and programs for youth. They provide information on dating violence statistics, how to identify an abusive relationship, and training in nonviolent strategies and on attitudes toward violence.

YTV offers lesson plans that can be downloaded for use in educational settings.

Programs are most often directed at young people in middle and high school, but there are prevention programs for younger children, adults and individuals with special needs. These programs (see Educational Resources) have been found to have long-term effects on reducing dating violence and helping people to leave violent relationships.

Suggested Readings

Boisvert, Jean-Marie, Madeleine Beaudry and Robert Ladouceur. La prévention des conflits conjugaux auprès des jeunes adultes québécois


Flinn, Alex Breathing Underwater (New York: HarperCollins, 2001).

Justice Canada, Dating Violence: A Fact Sheet from the Department of Justice Canada.

Website: index.html

Lefort, Louise and Monique Elliot. Le couple à l’adolescence -Rapport d’enquête sur les relations amoureuses des jeunes de 12 à 17 ans de l’île de Montréal (Montréal: Régie régionale de la santé et des services sociaux de Montréal-Centre, 2001).

Lloyd, Sally and Beth Emery. The Darkside of Courtship (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2000).

Murray, Jill. But I Love Him (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2000).

Rondeau, Lorraine and Pierre H. Tremblay. Les relations amoureuses des jeunes, prévenir la violence, favoriser les relations harmonieuses et égalitaires,... accompagner les jeunes. (Montréal: Régie régionale de la santé et des services sociaux de Montréal-Centre, Direction de la santé publique; CLSC Olivier-Guimond, 2001).

Scarce, Michael. Male on Male Rape: The Hidden Toll of Stigma and Shame (New York: Plenum Press, 1997).

Totten, Mark. Guys, Gangs and Girlfriend Abuse (Peterborough: Broadview, 2000).

Tremblay, Pierre H. et al. Régie régionale de la santé et des services sociaux de Montréal-Centre. Agir à l’école contre la violence et le sexisme. Promotion des conduites pacifiques et égalitaires à l’école primaire (Montréal: Direction de la santé publique, 1998).

Wolfe, D.A., et al. The Youth Relationships Manual: A Group Approach with Adolescents for the Prevention of Woman Abuse and the Promotion of Healthy Relationships (Thousand Oaks CA: Sage, 1998).


The Stop Family Violence offers a collection of videos on family violence, including several on the issue of dating violence. Videos may be borrowed through the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) partner public libraries across the country or through interlibrary loan, or they may be purchased through their respective distributors. To obtain a complete list of videos, libraries and distributors, please contact the NCFV and request the 2005 NCFV Video Catalogue [cat: H72-21/23-2005] or visit the NCFV website at violence/resources_e.html and click on “Video Collection”.

Dangerous Games (2003). Intermedia. Website: DA07.htm

Dating Violence: Young Women’s Guide (1997). Toronto. Website:

Full tendresse (1994). Vidéo-femmes Québec. Website:

Love – All That and More (2000). Barri Rosenbluth. Faith Trust Institute – Curriculum with three videos. Website:

The Teen Abuse Prevention Package (1999) two videos – Love Taps and A Love That Kills. National Film Board of Canada. Website: epl?id=33881&expr=${dating}%20AND%20$ {violence}&sid=6280eada4312478e0811435 514d0b05a&coll=onf&type=desc

Right From the Start: Dating Violence Prevention for Teens/Desledébut. (1992). Available from the National Film Board of Canada. Website: epl?id=30174&expr=${dating}%20AND%20$ {violence}&sid=6280eada4312478e0811435 514d0b05a&coll=onf&type=desc

What Next? What to Do About Sexual Assault

(2000). Community Living Algoma. Available through the National Film Board of Canada. Website: epl?id=50973&expr=${sexual}%20AND%20$ {assault}&sid=6280eada4312478e08114355 14d0b05a&coll=onf&type=desc

You Oughta Know: Teens Talk About Dating and Abuse. (1997). Website:

Youth Violence What’s Out There (1995). Available from the National Film Board of Canada. Website: epl?id=50232&expr=${dating}%20AND%20$ {violence}&sid=6280eada4312478e0811435 514d0b05a&coll=onf&type=desc

Educational Resources

A review of youth dating violence prevention programs is available at the University of Calgary RESOLVE website called School-based Violence Prevention Programs.Footnote 67 The site provides information on a variety of programs and on whether prevention and education programs have been assessed, who assessed them and the findings of the assessments. Information about most of the following programs can be found here: http://www. English/reviewprog/youthdprogs.htm

A.S.A.P. -A School-based Anti-Violence Prevention Program (1996), London Family Court Clinic, London, ON. Website:

Collective Drama and the Prevention of Violence in Relationships (1997). R. Walsh-Bowers, Wilfred Laurier University, Waterloo ON. Contact Dr. Richard Walsh-Bowers. Email:

Expecting Respect: A Peer Education Program. Edmonton, AB. Contact: Expecting Respect- Peer Education Project. Email:

The Fourth R (2000). D.A. Wolfe, Centre for Research on Violence Against Women and Children, University of Western Ontario. London, ON. Website: Contact Dr. David Wolfe via email: or mail: Centre for Research on Violence Against Women and Children, 1137 Western Road, Room 118, Faculty of Education Building, University of Western Ontario, London, ON, N6G 1G7. Tel: 519-661-4040; Fax: 519850-2464.

Healthy Relationships: A Violence Prevention Curriculum (1993). Developed by Men For Change, Halifax, NS. Program is aimed at 7th, 8th and 9th graders. Website: Email:

Making Waves/Vague par vague. (1995) S. Leibovitch, D. Westerburg and L. Legere. NB. Website:

Preventing Violence in Dating Relationships: A Teaching Guide (1993). Education Wife Assault. Website:

Programme de prévention de la violence dans les relations amoureuses des jeunes (VIRAJ) STOP! Dating Violence Among Adolescents (2001). Available online at no cost. Website:

RespectED: Violence and Abuse Prevention, Canadian Red Cross. There are a variety of programs available, including C.A.R.E (Challenge Abuse through Respect Education) for children aged 5-9, It’s Not Your Fault and What’s Love Got To Do With It? for youth aged 12 to 19, Walking the Prevention Circle a program for Aboriginal individuals and communities and Abuse is Not Love for new Canadian youth. Website: asp?id=000294&tid=030

SafeTeen: Powerful Alternative to Violence.A. Roberts. Vancouver, BC. Website: Email:

Vers qui? Vers quoi? Rapports égalitaires et pacifiques chez les jeunes (2001). QU: Gouvernement du Québec, Ministère de l’Éducation. Website: jeunesse/domaine/amour/boite/instrument 22.html

Young Deaf Women and Violence Leadership Development and Training Project (1999-2000). Education Wife Assault. Email:

Young Women’s Anti-Violence Speakers Bureau. Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Children (METRAC), Toronto, ON. Website:


Published by authority of the Minister of Health 2006.

Violence in Dating Relationships: An Overview Paper was prepared by Katharine D. Kelly, Ph.D., for the Stop Family Violence.

Également disponible en français sous le titre : La violence dans les fréquentations – Aperçu.

The opinions expressed in this document are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Stop Family Violence, Public Health Agency of Canada.

Contents may not be reproduced for commercial purposes, but any other reproduction, with acknowledgements, is encouraged.

Recommended citation: Canada: Stop Family Violence. Violence in Dating Relationships: An Overview Paper. Prepared by Katharine D. Kelly. Ottawa: Public Health Agency of Canada, 2006.

This publication can be made available in alternative formats upon request.

For more information, please contact:

Stop Family Violence Family Violence Prevention Unit

Public Health Agency of Canada
200 Eglantine Driveway Jeanne Mance Building, AL: 1909D1
Tunney's Pasture Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0K9

Telephone: 1-800-267-1291 or (613) 957-2938

Fax: (613) 941-8930 TTY: 1-800-561-5643 or (613) 952-6396

Web Site:


© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Minister of Health (2006)

Cat. HP20-3/2006E ISBN: 0-662-40478-5


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