Women's shelter shares advice during teen dating violence month

Published: Feb. 6, 2013 at 10:46 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 7, 2013 at 10:47 AM CST
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NEWPORT, AR (KAIT)-One in three teenagers will experience dating abuse according to the National Council on Crime and Delinquency.

February is Teen Dating Violence Prevention and Awareness Month.Kay Russell is the outreach coordinator at the White River Battered Women's Shelter in Newport and says the statistic is very shocking.

"If you've got 50 kids lined up," Russell said. "And you tell one in three to stand up that's pretty shocking isn't it."

Kay Russell said many people are unaware of teen dating violence whether it's verbal, physical or emotional.

"Teenagers are blindly going out into dating relationships," Russell said. "And most of them do not have a clue what statistics say."

The White River shelter can house up to 22 women and children at one time. Most women stay for a minimum of three months. In 2011, the shelter housed 47 women and 27 children.

"When a women picks up the phone and dials for help, she's desperate," Russell said.

The shelter then refers women to a qualified counselor. Russell says women may be exposed to various types of abuse.

"He may put them through the honeymoon stage, he may be really sweet, very loving starting out, very attentive and then all of a sudden she can't see her friends.

There are signs parents should look out for if they suspect their child is being abused.

"When they become reclusive," Russell said. "When they're spending a lot of time in their room, when their escaping from other people."

If a teen has experienced some form of abuse, there are ways to get pass it.

"Replacing all of that negativity with the ability to say yes I am worth better than this," Russell said.

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