Knowing the signs of teen dating violence

RENO, Nev. (KOLO) -- February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness month and local organizations are hard at work helping to raise awareness on teen dating violence.

According to Advocates to End Domestic Violence, one in four teens who has been in a serious relationship says a significant other has tried to prevent him or her from spending time with friends or family. The same number has been pressured to only spend time with just the one partner.

"Your kids are looking up to you," John Malcolm, Outreach and Prevention Education Specialist with Safe Embrace, said. "Parents are the role models and the leaders and the mentors in the home, and showing how you act in the home, your kids are going to carry that out outside the home."

Dating violence consists of physical, verbal and emotional abuse. It happens to people ages 11-24. The violence can consist of peer pressure, isolation or exclusion, sexual coercion, threats, intimidation, stalking, blame, and using social status.

"The advice we give the parents is showing the traits of what makes a healthy relationship, and talking to your kids about what makes an unhealthy relationship and how to recognize those red flags in relationships," Malcolm said.

In today's day and age, social media also plays a huge role in teen dating violence. Experts say it has to be addressed.

"Talking about social media and the digital respect and that social etiquette is huge and can also prevent a lot of issues going on right now in our schools," Malcolm said.

Advocates to End Domestic Violence has a 24-hour crisis hotline for anyone dealing with domestic violence. That number is 775-883-7654. They will also roll out a new texting crisis hotline in the coming months.