While classifying the perpetrator as a threat may be detrimental to his or her life and future relationships, not classifying the perpetrator this way may put future partners at risk.There is considerable debate over whether we as a society have an accurate picture of the prevalence and severity of teen dating violence by gender.
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In some cases, the adult may be just a few months older than the minor.
There are a number of states in which "age of consent statutes are used to prosecute consensual sex between two persons both under the age of consent." This type of prosecution has been deemed unconstitutional in some states by citing violation of privacy rights, but remains in effect in other states.
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.
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.
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.
Approximately one in three adolescent girls in the United States is a victim of physical, emotional, or verbal abuse from a dating partner—a figure that far exceeds victimization rates for other types of violence affecting youth Mark Green, former Wisconsin Representative said "if the numbers we see in domestic violence (dating violence) were applied to terrorism or gang violence, the entire country would be up in arms, and it would be the lead story on the news every night".