Violence in Intimate Relationships

Relationships   ›   Violence in Intimate Relationships

Violence in intimate relationships can appear in many different forms and can affect both teens and adults. What should we do when we learn that our teen is a victim of domestic violence?

Violence in intimate relationships can express itself in different ways:


Psychological Violence

  • Saying things to make the other person angry.
  • Mocking or making fun of the other person in front of others.
  • Following the other person to know where and with whom they are with.


Physical Violence

  • Hitting, punching, or kicking.
  • Slapping or hair-pulling.
  • Pushing, shoving, shaking, or restraining the other person.


Sexual Violence

  • Kissing, caressing, or touching when the other person does not consent.
  • Trying to have sexual relations or having sexual relations when the other person doesn’t want to.


Threats of Physical Violence

  • Threatening to hurt or injure the other person, hitting them, or throwing things at them.


Learning About a Violent Situation and Listening

When a teen reveals a situation of intimate violence, some parents may want to act quickly to help change the situation of violence in the relationship. Although parents only have limited options in terms of their teen’s intimate choices, their role is to be open, to show empathy without judgment, to teach them about healthy relationships as compared to toxic ones, to have them think about their experience of intimacy, and to be there to listen and support them when they need it. Taking your time to listen and digest this information can be helpful before addressing such a sensitive situation with your teen. Also, being properly informed about the subject will make it easier for parents to provide the right information for their teen.


Using Specialized Resources

Parents can choose to seek professional help from local community service centres or from a private psychologist, and they can suggest these same resources to their teen. When parents witness violent situations, they can also call for emergency help (neighbourhood police, 911) or talk about it to the partner’s parents, if they think it is necessary.