CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Domestic violence crimes are spiking in Charlotte, according to statistics released by Charlotte-Mecklenburg police.
According to police, there have been 15 homicides tied to domestic violence so far this year. At the same time last year, there were just 4.
Experts say, young people are especially prone to being in violent relationships.
Studies have found that the highest rate of violence in relationships occurs in age group 16-24.
"One out of three teenagers will suffer some form of physical or emotional abuse," says Alex Pyun, who educates teens about domestic violence through Mecklenburg County Community Support Services.
Pyun says most parents have no idea that domestic violence is a problem that could be plaguing their children. Because of that lack of information, they often miss vital warning signs.
"Things like being very controlling, constantly texting someone, wanting to know where they are at all times," he says.
Pyun says it can be a challenge to know what is really happening with teenagers, but their habits may provide clues. If your children stop participating in activities they used to like, or only want to spend time with a significant other, it could be a sign of a controlling relationship. Pyun says that control can lead to abuse.
"When you're a teen you're still figuring yourself out and you're still unsure what a healthy relationship is versus what an unhealthy relationship is," he says. "I think all the behaviors that you see in abusive relationships with adults, those behaviors probably started in the teenage years."
Pyun says the increase in domestic violence deaths is disheartening, but hopes conversations will be sparked across the community.
"I think our culture really minimizes how big of a problem it is," he says.
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