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Girls are more likely to report committing less serious forms of IPV, including as a means of self-defense, whereas boys are more likely to report committing more severe acts of IPV, including threats, physical violence and controlling a partner.
Other research indicates that boys who have been abused in childhood by a family member are more prone to IPV perpetration, while girls who have been abused in childhood by a family member are prone to lack empathy and self-efficacy; but the risks for the likelihood of IPV perpetration and victimization among adolescents vary and are not well understood.
Gerntholtz pointed out that while ordinary criminal law does outlaw violence, and therefore domestic abuse should be treated as a crime, the issue has historically been ignored by governments and underreported by women.
"Because the violence is so invisible you needed laws to enroll judges, police and other authorities to look for it and prosecute it," she said.
There is a common misconception that aggression is stable over time.
That is, young people who are labeled as or considered to be violent and aggressive at any point in time are then assumed to be dangerous for the rest of their lives.
The research has mainly focused on Caucasian youth, and there are yet no studies which focus specifically on IPV in adolescent same-sex romantic relationships.
Liesl Gerntholtz, Executive Director of the Women's Rights Division at Human Rights Watch, explained to The World Post why it has been so important for countries to adopt specific legislation that targets domestic abuse.
There are a number of states in which "age of consent statutes are used to prosecute consensual sex between two persons both under the age of consent." This type of prosecution has been deemed unconstitutional in some states by citing violation of privacy rights, but remains in effect in other states.