Texas Hotline Sees “Massive” Increase in Calls Reporting Teen Dating Abuse

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A pregnant girl, 16, entered a Texas women’s shelter in 2011, the youngest person in North Texas that year to take refuge at such a location,s ays the Dallas Morning News. She had been physically abused by her partner and had nowhere to go. The National Dating Abuse Helpline says that 1 in 3 teens — about 7 million nationwide — experience dating abuse at some point during their teenage years, whether it is sexual, physical, or emotional.

In 2011, five North Texas girls were killed by their boyfriends, says the Texas Council on Family Violence. Experts says teen abuse incidents — often a precursor to adult domestic violence assaults — are getting worse, nationwide and in Texas. Last year, the National Dating Abuse Helpline and the National Domestic Violence Hotline documented 4,442 calls from teens. “We've been seeing that number increase. A massive increase,” said Katie Ray-Jones, president of the helpline and hotline, based in Austin. Helpline officials expect the number of contacts from teen victims to double this year across all three of its platforms — phone calls, text messaging, and chats.

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