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Prevent physical harm and injury in the lives of children and youth

% of students in grades 9 through 12 who experienced physical dating violence in the past 12 months

Current Value




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Story Behind the Curve

Updated: February, 2024

Author: Adolescent Injury Prevention, Vermont Department of Health

This indicator, or population measure, is part of our Healthy Vermonters 2030 data set. Read more about how this data helps us understand and improve the well-being of people in Vermont on the Healthy Vermonters 2030 webpage.

Because this data is meant to show how the health of our state changes during the decade from 2020-2030, some indicators may have very few data points for now. Keep checking back to see the progress our public health system and partners are making.

We would like to see the percentage of students who experience physical dating violence decrease to 6% or less by 2030.

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Why Is This Important?

Dating and sexual violence have shared risk and protective factors with other priorities in the Division of Family and Child Health and across the entire Department of Health. Those who have experienced dating and sexual violence are at higher risk for suicidality, substance misuse and other forms of interpersonal violence. The issue of youth violence is also cross cutting in our work with the Division for Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Injury Prevention, and other Agency of Human Services Departments, in addition to community-based organization. This priority aligns with Vermont’s Plan to Address Sexual Violence through Primary Prevention

Equity and Impact

While sexual violence impacts every demographic, we also know that there are subpopulations that are at higher risk for experiencing violence.

According to data in Vermont, students identifying as Black, Indigenous, or People of Color (BIPOC) are significantly more likely than white, non-Hispanic students to have dated or gone out with someone who physically hurt them (14% vs. 7%). LGBTQ+ students are more than two times as likely as heterosexual cisgender students to have dated or gone out with someone who physically hurt them (13% vs. 6%).

These same groups of youth are also impacted by the poorest behavioral and mental health outcomes, including being more likely to have made a suicide plan during the past year. Such negative impacts on marginalized populations are due to discrimination and systemic oppression, which is present even among our schools in Vermont.

How We Can Improve

The Division of Family and Child Health (FCH) has prioritized the primary prevention of dating and sexual violence through its various grants and programs. 

FCH has been a recipient of the Rape Prevention and Education grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Through this grant, we fund the Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence and two of its member organizations to implement activities related to the primary prevention of sexual violence. All these activities involve centering youth voices and equipping adults to foster safe and supportive environments.

FCH is also the recipient of state-allocated funds to support the Community Violence Prevention Program, which provides funding to 12 municipalities and non-profit organizations to implement prevention programs associated with illegal drug activity, gangs, human trafficking, gender-based violence, and other forms of youth and community violence. Grant activities address shared risk and protectives factors which include, but are not limited to, parent-child relationships, family support and connectedness, skills in solving problems non-violently, access to mental health and substance abuse services, and coordination of resources and services among community agencies.

You can learn more on the Department of Health Domestic and Sexual Violence Resources webpage.

Notes on Methodology

The target value is 6%. Since there is currently no dedicated funding to this measure it is not reasonable to expect a decrease to 5% or below, especially since this is already a low number. Six percent will be a significant decrease, which is the desired direction, while still being attainable.

This measure only includes those students who reported going on a date in the past 12 months; it is not a percentage of total students surveyed.

The Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) is a national survey funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and many Vermont partners. It is administered every other year (odd years) through the public school system. The YRBS is a major source of information about youth health related behaviors that may contribute to leading causes of death and disability as adults. The data is collected biennially in odd years and available in spring of even years.

Detailed analyses of Vermont data also inform on special subpopulations. Please refer to the YRBS data page for annual reports and population-specific data briefs. 

Caution should be used when interpreting and comparing the 2021 results to other years. For more information on the delayed administration and how it may have impacted the 2021 results, please see "Special Considerations for 2021".

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