Relationship abuse is most often associated with domestic violence. But violence doesn't only take place among adults or partners who are married; abuse is also prevalent among partners who are dating. In fact, it's estimated that one in five high school students will experience dating abuse, either emotional or physical, during their high school days.

Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month is a national awareness initiative to promote healthy, respectful relationships. In recognition of this event, Shannon Johnson, Calhoun County Prosecuting Attorney, and Lori Fleagle, Domestic Abuse Response Team Outreach Coordinator, offered some tips and guidance for parents and teens. "Prevention is always our hope," says Johnson. "We always hope first that parents and mentors are modeling safe, healthy relationships for their children and that our teens are recognizing those good examples. Unfortunately, that is not always the case."

Fleagle offered some tips on how to recognize signs of possible abuse. If your loved one is afraid to disagree with their partner, always does what the partner wants, or continuously puts the partner's needs ahead of their own, there could be a reason to be concerned. Additionally, if there seems to be excessive texts, phone calls, and communication between the couple, this might be a sign of an unhealthy relationship. Other clues of problems are declining grades, missing school, or not hanging out with or associating with family and friends. The most obvious clue would be unexplained bruises or injuries.

If you notice any of these signs in your relationship or those of your loved ones, Fleagle encourages you to take action. "There are so many resources available. Several websites offer quick, confidential ideas about how to best approach the subject. And, people can always contact my office for assistance." Fleagle notes that loveisrespect.org and futureswithoutviolence.org are just two of the many online resources available.

For local resources, visit  fcichaven.org

Fleagle can be reached at her office in Grantsville at 304-354-9254 or on the 24 hour hotline at 1-800-794-2335. Johnson notes that the Prosecutor's Office is able to direct you to resources and services. It may be reached at 304-354-6170.

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