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Most of the practitioners in attendance — representing national organizations, schools and victim service community-based agencies — said that they primarily see female victims, and when they discuss teen dating violence with students, they hear that boys are the primary perpetrators. Because teen dating violence has only recently been recognized as a significant public health problem, the complex nature of this phenomenon is not fully understood.

Although research on rates of perpetration and victimization exists, research that examines the problem from a longitudinal perspective and considers the dynamics of teen romantic relationships is lacking.

Interestingly, the rates of reported victimization versus perpetration in the state were similar for boys and girls.[3] However, when it comes to severe teen dating violence — including sexual and physical assault — girls were disproportionately the victims.[4] At a recent workshop on teen dating violence, co-sponsored by the U. Departments of Justice (DOJ) and Health and Human Services (HHS), researchers presented findings from several studies that found that girls and boys perpetrate the same frequency of physical aggression in romantic relationships.

This finding was at odds with what practitioners attending the workshop said they encounter in their professional experience.

Consequently, those in the field have to rely on an framework to examine the problem of teen dating violence.