This paper considers how dating violence is defined, what its consequences are, and what can be done about it.
While some forms of abusive behaviour, such as acts of physical assault, could result in charges under the Criminal Code of Canada, others, such as ridiculing or otherwise being verbally abusive, are harmful but not criminal offences.
Dating violence has become an issue of increasing concern to researchers and practitioners over the past three decades.
Studies indicate that dating violence can happen to anyone, regardless of age, race, sexual orientation, socio-economic status or location of residence.
It happens in both adolescent and adult relationships.
Intimate (Patriarchal) Terrorism may be defined as the systematic use of violence and other abusive behaviour to control a partner.
Violence in these types of relationships is generally frequent and escalates to severe violence.
Dating violence is a significant and widespread social problem.
It is expressed in a range of harmful behaviours — from threats, to emotional maltreatment, to physical and sexual aggression.
Mutual Violent Control identifies violent exchanges in which both partners are violent and controlling.
It is the least common type of violence of the four in Johnson’s typology.
It can also include destroying a partner’s property or possessions and isolating him or her from friends and relatives. In addition to categorizing the types of dating violence in this way (physical, sexual and emotional; moderate and severe), sociological studies distinguish among the forms of dating violence according to other qualitative characteristics, such as frequency (how often violence is used) and the motives for its use.