The states need to send a strong message about this, Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick C.

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Sixty-nine percent of teens who had sex by age 14 reported some type of abuse in a relationship, with slightly more than one-third saying they had been physically abused, according to the survey, conducted by Teenage Research Unlimited.

About 10 percent of the teenagers surveyed said they had had sex by age 14, while 20 percent said they had sex between the ages of 15 and 16. "What makes this data so disturbing is the clear and unexpected finding that dating abuse and violence begins at such a young age," said Jane Randel, the vice president of corporate communications for Liz Claiborne Inc., at a news conference to coincide with the survey's release.

One in five 13- or 14-year-olds in relationships say they know friends and peers who have been "struck in anger" by a boyfriend or girlfriend. And the "parents don't know what's going on," she said.

Sixty-two percent have friends who have been called stupid, worthless or ugly by their dates. Nearly half of those preteens or "tweens" who responded said they had been in a dating relationship.

The survey considers tweens to be between 11 and 14 years of age.

Slightly more than two-thirds of parents surveyed believe they know "a lot" or "everything" about their tween's relationship, but only 51 percent of tweens agree, the survey said.One-fifth of tweens say their parents know little or nothing about their dating relationships, while only 6 percent of parents concur.But despite the number of teens and tweens who say they have experienced abuse or say they know someone who has, only about 51 percent say they are aware of the warning signs of hurtful dating relationship.And slightly more than half -- 54 percent -- said they would know what to do if a friend came to them for help, the survey said.Teenagers and tweens need educational programs about abuse in relationships, experts say.Concern about the issue prompted the National Association of Attorneys General to pass a resolution last month encouraging states to work with local school districts to implement teen dating violence education policies.