Power and Control in Teen Dating Abuse

With an increasing reliance on devices for education and socializing, we’re seeing more iterations of teen dating violence that involve tech, from sextortion, to revenge porn, to stalking. Teens and their family and friends need to know: you are not alone in dealing with this.

1 in 3 adolescents is the victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner. We often think of intimate partner violence as occurring amongst adults in longer-term relationships, who are living together. Yet girls and young women between the ages of 16 and 24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence of any age group.*

Dating abuse is a pattern of manipulative and violent behaviors that are used to exert power and control over a dating partner. Every victim, and every relationship, is different. But the tools an abusive partner uses to get power and control are sadly predictable.

While the Shadow Pandemic of increasing domestic violence has been fairly well documented, our firm also started seeing an uptick in online Teen Dating Violence behaviors as Covid-19 lockdown began: teens sextorting each other, coercing classmates to send naked pics then passing them on.. And as remote, device-based learning becomes the norm in the wake of Covid-19, and teenage life increasingly takes place online, we all need to know what manipulation looks like in adolescent relationships today.

The best advice we have for parents is to let your kid know early and often that you are there unconditionally to help him or her. Abusers often rely on isolating their victims and alienating them from their families, and sometimes a parent’s disapproval of a partner makes the teen afraid to come to their parent for help leaving a relationship or confiding about the abuse.  – Carrie Goldberg


The Power and Control wheel is a tool used in intimate partner violence support to show the ways that an abuser inflicts violence on those around them. We recreated it to show how power and control are weaponized in teen dating abuse – online and offline.

An illustration containing examples of teen dating abuse, including isolating, shaming, threatening, and harassment

If you would like a larger/PDF version, contact us here!


We also recreated the classic power and control wheel to encompass digital abuse, which you can see here, and a Covid-19 power and control wheel, which you can see here.

Remember: You can take back power and control! Contact us here or call 646-666-8908 to schedule a case evaluation. 


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