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What is Dating Violence?


Couple Fighting and Arguing
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Question: What is Dating Violence?

Dating violence is described by Health Canada (1995) as, "...any intentional sexual, physical or psychological attack on one partner by the other in a dating relationship".

Choking, slapping, hitting, kicking, biting, shoving, threatening with a weapon, confinement and hair pulling all constitute physical abuse, whereas sexual abuse takes place when one person has been forced to have sex or perform sexual acts or attempting to have sex or perform sexual acts with someone under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.

Emotional dating violence is somewhat more challenging to define as there are no physical manifestations (i.e. bruises) when emotional abuse occurs. Some types of emotional abuse include insulting, swearing, terrorizing, uttering threats, destroying property, forcing isolation, or being extremely jealous or possessive to the point of where it negatively affects the other person involved in the relationship.


Health Canada (1995). Dating violence. Available online from the National Clearinghouse on Family Violence.

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