The Urban Institute's (UI) Justice Policy Center will conduct an examination of youth's use of technology and new media to perpetrate psychologically abusive behaviors toward romantic partners, stalking behaviors, and sexually harassing and victimizing behaviors. The overall goal of the project is to expand knowledge about the types of victimizing experiences youth have in romantic relationships, the prevalence of violence perpetration via technology and new media outlets (e.g., social networking sites, texting on cellular phones, etc.), and the prevalence of this type of victimization; thus contributing to the knowledge base on which policy and program developers, school administrators, victim advocates, and criminal justice personnel rely to develop evidence-based policies and strategies to address this problem.
The specific objectives of this 21-month study are: (1) To confirm types of violence perpetrated via technology/new media and document the prevalence of it for both victims and perpetrators, including: psychological abuse from romantic partners; stalking behaviors of former romantic partners or non-partners; and sexually harassing and victimizing behaviors. (2) To identify the nature of these experiences, where the experiences take place, and if youth are seeking help when they experience victimization via technology/new media (from whom, the kinds of help they received, and the types of help they did not receive but wanted). And (3) To identify if experiencing these types of victimization is related to: reports of physical violence from dating partners; the likelihood of perpetrating the same behaviors in response to victimization; and other psychosocial measures, such as mental health and delinquency. To address these objectives, the research team will conduct an exploratory survey with 8,000 youths from high schools and middle schools in the Austin, TX and Albany, NY areas.