Rockford leaders raise awareness for National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- The Rockford Mayor's Office of Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking is working to educate the community during National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.

City leaders say domestic violence makes up 35 percent of the city's violent crime rate with a portion of that coming from juveniles.

Experts say parents are the best teachers when it comes to having conversations about domestic violence and looking for warning signs.

"We have to start talking to kids at a very young age about healthy relationships what that means with friends and what that means with interpersonal relationships in families as well," said Jennifer Cacciapaglia manager of the Mayor's Office of Domestic Violence.

Cacciapaglia says some red flags to look for in a potentially violent relationship would be controlling, obsessive and jealous behaviors.

"I don't think that we can wait until it becomes an issue we have to do everything we can and use all of the best practices and tools and our resources to prevent it from happening."