New York State launched a social media campaign to warn young people about dating violence.
The campaign, #NotJustPhysical, runs throughout the month of February and targets teens ages 13 to 17 on all social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.
The goal is for teens to have discussions about what constitutes a healthy relationship.
"We can't wait until partners are 30 or 40 years old to teach them what a healthy relationship is," said Kara Hahn, a Suffolk County legislator who identified herself as a survivor of domestic abuse.
Studies show that 29 percent of teens say they have been physically abused by a dating partner.
Girls and boys involved in dating abuse or more likely to feel depressed, have anxiety, use drugs, drink alcohol and have suicidal thoughts or attempts.
"We need to educate them about consent and healthy relationship so we can create a healthy environment for young people," said Colleen Merlo, executive director of Long Island Against Domestic Violence.
Parents are urged to look for warning signs of possible dating abuse, including a partner who is extremely jealous or possessive, unexplained marks or bruises on their child, a partner who emails or texts excessively or a child who suddenly seems anxious or depressed.
Linda Bosme, a family therapist, said parents have to know who their child is dating and must see how the two act around one another.
"If your child's partner is honking the horn and not coming into the house, that's disrespectful. Say, 'no have him come in,'" she said.
If you or someone you know is involved in an abusive relationship, you can call the New York State Domestic and Sexual Violence Hotline at 1-800-942-6906 or Long Island Against Domestic Violence.
Suffolk County residents can also contact Suffolk County Women's Services. All calls are kept confidential.
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State launches teen dating abuse awareness social media campaign
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