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Do's and Don'ts: Teen Dating Abuse - How to be an Adult Ally

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 2021
1 page

The Thriving Relationships Lab of the Arizona State University School of Social Work presents brief statements of what adults should do and not do in having a constructive conversation with a victim of teen dating violence. 


The Thriving Relationship Lab is a team of interdisciplinary social justice-minded faculty, students, and public servants engaged with local schools and communities to prevent dating and sexual abuse and promote positive relationships among teens and young adults. In the current instructional guide, the  “Do’s” recommended in an adult’s conversation with a teen who has experienced dating abuse are 1) Believe the teen and be supportive; 2) Start a conversation and listen; 3) Express concern for the teen’s safety; 4) Keep the conversation low key; 5) Focus on how the teen is feeling; and 6) Tell the teen you are available any time she/he wants to talk.  The recommended “Don’ts” are 1) Don’t wait for the teen to come to you; (2) Don’t question the teen; 3) Don’t make it about the adult’s feelings or thoughts or tell the teen what she/he should do; and 4) Don’t try to fix the problem or pressure the teen to talk.   

Date Published: July 22, 2021