Looking for warning signs in teen dating violence

Details are still coming out about the stabbing death of 16-year old Maren Sanchez on Jonathan Law High School’s prom day. Her attacker allegedly killed her because she wouldn’t be his prom date.

Dr. Laura Saunders is a clinical psychologist at the Institute of Living in Hartford, and works with young adults in crises. She says violence in a teen dating relationship can sneak up on kids, and parents need to talk about it and define clear boundaries.

Saunders said that before shoving and slapping, there are red flags like excessive jealousy, possessiveness and needing to know where someone is at all times.

Those traits can lead to violence.

“That is where social media kind of complicates this, because you can have instant access to someone at all hours of the day, and that is not healthy,” Saunders said.

While we don’t know much about murder suspect Chris Plaskon and his history, teen dating violence is more common than you might think.

“We know that nationally 1 in 4 women will be affected by domestic violence in her lifetime,” said Rosemary Padin, who works at the Interval House Shelter for victims of domestic violence. “When it’s high school and teenagers, it’s one in three, so that’s startling.”

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