Studies show teen dating violence as growing problem

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A boyfriend and girlfriend alleged stabbing Tuesday night in St. Joseph County is another reminder of how serious dating violence can be for teens.

Police say a young girl was stabbed several times by her boyfriend after she tried to break-up with him.

A national study shows that 81 percent of parents don't think it's an issue yet a third of teens have reported abuse while in a relationship.

Counselors working with teens say it’s a growing problem among teens.

Sexual assault therapist Aleta Hurt from the YWCA in St. Joseph County says there could be a variety of reasons for the increase from the constant communication with cell phones to a violent society.

Hurt explained that, “When a young man is calling his girlfriend 20 times a day, wondering where she is at… it’s controlling behavior; people think oh they are just so much in love, that's not necessarily true.”

Parents play an important role one as role models of a healthy relationship and second as identifiers of possible abuse.

“I think that not having positive models in front of them definitely impacts the way they choose relationships and the way they go about treating the boyfriend or girlfriend,” said Katie Jones from the Family Justice Center.

Experts say warning signs include quick jealously, isolation from friends and family, controlling behavior, and extreme criticism that leads to lower the self-esteem.

Jones explained further and said, “If there is some violence, if there is some aggression, putting the blame back on you or making you feel like it’s your fault.”

By July of 2011 Indiana schools are required to have a dating violence education program in place.

The new state law recently passed and will help students recognize dating violence and learn how to report it.