Identifying signs of abuse a focus of “National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month”

The number for the National Dating Abuse helpline is 1-866-331-9474 or visit the website.
The number for the National Dating Abuse helpline is 1-866-331-9474 or visit the website.(WDAM Staff)
Published: Feb. 7, 2022 at 7:11 PM CST
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PINE BELT, Miss. (WDAM) - With February being ”National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month,” local experts explained the signs and dangers of relationship abuse.

According to Jason Niblett from the Laurel Domestic Abuse Family Shelter, 1-in-4 teenagers are victims of some sort of dating abuse.

“A lot of people don’t really think about teen dating violence as more than just physical abuse,” Niblett said. “It can be financial abuse, it can be controlling.

“Even if your mom wants to go shopping with you at the grocery store or at the mall, if you got a boyfriend or girlfriend, it can be a male or female victim, someone texts you, ‘Where are you? Who are you with? What are you doing,’ that’s all signs of abuse.”

If you feel that you or anyone you know is suffering from teen violence, there are ways to help the situation.

“You can always talk to a school counselor, you can talk to a pastor, you can talk to a coach, just any adult that you can trust you can talk to,” Niblett said. “But don’t let your boyfriend or girlfriend keep getting by with stuff because it will escalate.”

Derica Killingsworth from the Forrest County Sheriff’s Office said some of these issues start on social media apps.

“So parents, you want to make sure you’re engaging with your child’s social media,” Niblett said. “Make sure you’re monitoring it.

“I mean most apps aren’t child-friendly. You know, talk to your kids about the dangers of social media. You just really want to make sure your monitoring those apps and what your child is doing.”

Killingsworth also said this issue not only affects the people involved, but friends and family around it.

The number for the National Dating Abuse helpline is 1-866-331-9474 or visit the website. You can also call the domestic abuse family shelter at 1-800-649-1092.

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