How to recognize signs of teen dating abuse

Local News

The Knoxville Family Justice Center said there are several red flags parents can look for when it comes to teen dating abuse.

Executive Director Amy Dilworth said it is crucial that parents talk with their children if you suspect something is going on.

“Don’t sit there and think that it is what it was when you were a teen. It’s gotten more complicated,” said Dilworth.

Dilworth said teen dating abuse is starting an younger age. She said they’ve seen kids come through their doors as young as 12 asking for help. She encourages parents to stay on top of your child’s social media and cell phone use.

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“Technology is where a lot of the control comes whether it be social media or texting,” said Dilworth.

Also, if you start to notice a change in their mood, you need to have a conversation with them as soon as possible.

“The earlier you start making it clear that you will listen and won’t get upset, that you can handle what they have to say the better,” said Dilworth.

Emily-Anne Buck is a Knoxville mom who now speaks with high school students in the area about her experience, said she wishes she would have spoken up sooner.

“I really wish, I personally opened up to my parents because they could see something was going on,” said Buck. 

Buck also advising students to set boundaries in relationships early. 

“I tell students when you enter a relationship make sure you sit down and talk about equality and being equal and what a healthy relationship look likes,” said Buck.

The Family Justice Center offers a 24/7 helpline (865) 521-6336.

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