Fox Files: Spot the warning signs of teen dating violence

ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – Teen dating violence is a problem parents often don't know about until their child is in trouble.

Ashley shared her story of how she got into a relationship with a boy in seventh grade and it ended up almost killing her. It seemed innocent at first, but Ashley said he became very controlling. He would go through her phone and find out who she was talking with. He would become upset when she wanted to spend time with other friends and family.

Their dating relationship lasted through her junior year in high school. She tried to break up with him many times, but he threatened to hurt her reputation and even commit suicide if she followed through on her promises.

Ashley turned to Safe Connections, a St. Louis nonprofit that provides free counseling to teenagers trying to recover from unhealthy relationships. Their statistics show girls and young women between the ages of 16 and 24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence.

The warning signs for parents are a change in behavior, moodiness, depression, and isolation.

A spokesperson for Safe Connections advised parents not to force their child to break up with their boyfriend or girlfriend. The group recommended parents stay in alliance with the teen and know they have the power and that their parents are on their side.