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Studies looks at dating violence, homicide among teens

Some teenage girls in California may be at some risk of intimate partner violence. A study that appeared in JAMA Pediatrics in April looked at the more than 2,000 teens killed from 2003 to 2016. In that time, intimate partners killed 150 of them. The perpetrator was 18 or older in almost 80 percent of the cases, and girls were the ones killed in 90 percent of cases, with an average age of 17.

The study author said that many people do not think intimate partner violence is as serious among teenagers as it is among adults. The National Survey on Teen Relationships and Intimate Violence conducted another study and found that nearly two-thirds of teens said they had experienced physical, emotional or sexual violence in a dating relationship.

Because of the dangers involved and the possibility that these relationships could set the template for later abusive relationships, experts stressed the importance of adult intervention. Pediatricians, school nurses, school counselors and parents can all watch for signs of an abusive relationship and help educate teens about healthy relationships.

Easy access to guns was another factor in the deaths studied. Firearms were involved in more than 60 percent of the cases. The most common conflicts that prompted the violence were about breaking up or refusing to date someone followed by arguments about a pregnancy.

People who have been accused of domestic violence may want to contact an attorney. These accusations may lead to a restraining order or other legal actions that happen without a trial. In some cases, accusations are false and are made in the context of divorce or child custody issues. An attorney may be able to suggest a strategy for defending such a charge.

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