Boys victims dating abuse

Youths report emotional, physical and sexual abuse In 2012, the National Dating Abuse Helpline was contacted 39,938 times.

The 24-hour service is available at at 1-866-331-9474, or by texting "loveis" to 22522.

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Similar numbers of both sexes say they've been abusers.

Additional new research shows teens who abuse their girlfriends and boyfriends often share a past as middle-school bullies.

These findings, to be presented today in Honolulu at a meeting of the American Psychological Association, are the latest to shed light on a problem that has only come out of the shadows in recent years.

Researchers and educators eager to stop violent patterns early — and reduce abuse not only among teens but among the adults they will become — already are testing programs that teach younger children and teens how to have healthier relationships.

But as they seek to understand why so many young people hit, demean or force sex on their partners, much remains unclear.

One big question: Are boys and girls really equally at risk to become victims or abusers?

Some studies suggest they are and that girls may even be more likely than boys to lash out physically.

In the new nationwide survey, which included 1,058 youths ages 14 to 20, 41% of girls and young women and 37% of boys and young men said they had been victims of dating abuse; 35% of girls and 29% of boys said they had physically, emotionally or sexually abused a partner, according to a news release from the association.

Girls were more likely to say they had physically abused their partners; boys were "much more likely" to say they had sexually abused someone, the association says.

But it did not provide specific numbers on those differences.

The survey also found that 29% of girls and 24% of guys said they had been both victims and abusers, in the same or different relationships.

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