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Further, high poverty rates may also be associated with distrust in and cynicism toward the justice system, feelings that may decrease the likelihood that victims will seek help for IPV (thus increasing the risk for re-victimization).In addition, living in a disadvantaged community may lead to weak ties between community residents, also referred to as low collective efficacy (that is, lack of social cohesion among community members).
Indeed, research has demonstrated that an environment characterized by a lack of academic support is related to a greater likelihood of physical dating violence, whereas general school support—the feeling that teachers and students care about them—is a protective factor for physical dating violence. Although we did not measure variables that may explain these relationships, we can draw on previous research for insight.First, high poverty in a community may increase stress among couples, and stress is tied to intimate partner violence (IPV).Teens who reported participating in activities run by community groups (such as YMCA, church groups, sports groups) had higher rates of sexual dating violence compared to teens who did not report participating.Dating violence, defined as physical abuse (such as hitting) or sexual abuse (such as forcible sexual activity) that happens within the context of a current or former relationship, leads to a host of negative consequences, including poor mental and physical health and academic difficulties.
Experiences of minority stress among sexual minority teens may contribute to the risk of dating violence victimization by increasing self-blame for the victimization, which in turn fuels a lack of self-efficacy to leave a relationship and a perception of a lack of alternatives to the current relationship.