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Scientists call teen girls killed over bad breakups a ‘public health issue’ – USA TODAY


Teen dating has drama. Watch any show on CW. 

But researchers at the University of Washington said teen dating drama turns to homicide more often than people know and it’s a problem that needs to be addressed. The researchers published a report in the JAMA Pediatrics medical journal this week that found that nine out of 10 teens and adolescents killed by a dating partner are girls, and more than a quarter of those deaths were caused by jealousy, a breakup or resisting the relationship.

“This is a public health issue that should be taken seriously,” said Avanti Adhia, the study’s lead author. “While not a common occurrence, it does occur more often than people realize.”

Adhia said teens often don’t want to talk about dating violence with parents because it’s embarrassing or they know it’s unhealthy. Some schools and parents also don’t want to talk about it. But it’s a matter of life or death, Adhia told NPR.

“People think that intimate-partner violence among adolescents is less serious than among adults,” said Adhia, an epidemiologist at the University of Washington School of Medicine. “It’s important to highlight that this can really lead to death. It’s not something to brush off as ‘This is just an argument between kids.'”  

Teens killed by older partners, guns

Researchers examined more than 2,000 U.S. homicides of children ages 11 to 18 between 2003 and 2016. Of those, almost 7%, or 150 teens, were killed by current or former intimate partners.

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The average age of the female killed was 17, and their partners were usually about four years older, researchers found.

About two-thirds of the deaths involved guns. 

The study calls for adults to watch girls when relationships end because that, along with jealousy and refusing to start a relationship, accounted for 27% of teen deaths.

While some U.S. states allow minors to file legal orders of protection to keep abusers away, others require parental consent. The study’s authors say that puts girls at risk.

The study recommends all states “strongly consider” statutes allowing teens to get orders of protection without parental consent.

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