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"They need to feel safe telling a parent." Teens often hide the abuse from their parents, Spinks-Franklin says.Teens may not be able to confide in friends, either, because abusers sometimes isolate their victims from loved ones.Authors of the new report note that the CDC has changed the way it phrases its questions about teen dating violence, leading more students to report assaults.Teens who have experienced dating violence are at much higher risk for a variety of serious problems.For example, they're more than twice as likely as others to consider suicide.
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Boys and girls who have been victims of dating violence are more likely to get into fights, carry a weapon, use alcohol, use marijuana or cocaine and have sex with multiple partners the study says.
Researchers don't know if any of these events causes the others, however.
While it's possible that dating violence could cause thoughts of suicide, it's also possible that children who are depressed are more likely than others to fall into abusive relationships, says Adiaha Spinks-Franklin, a developmental and behavioral pediatrician at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston who was not involved in the new study.
Assaults by romantic partners often aren't isolated events.