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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Dating violence is a problem that affects Hoosier teens at an alarming rate.

“We rank third highest out of 30 states for sexual dating violence. And one in three teenagers experience some form of dating violence,” said Lindsay Stawick with the Domestic Violence Network.

The group has teamed up with STARS for Children of Marion County to get the topic out in the open.

“We do know that domestic violence is a cycle and that it’s a learned behavior and it starts young,” said Stawick.

A teen dating violence symposium will be held this weekend. The event is free for teens and parents (register for the symposium here).

“Often times their parents are having conversations with them about sex but they’re totally skipping over that conversation about what a healthy relationship looks like and feels like,” said Heather Wildrick-Holman with STARS for Children.

The event will include local resources and panels. Parents will hear from experts in the field to help them learn how to handle these conversations. Teens themselves will participate in a guided discussion led by peers from the Domestic Violence Youth Council.

“Teens are going through more and they’re lot more stressed out and stuff and so it kind of leads to I would say more abusive relationships because people don’t know how to get rid of their emotions,” said Ava McBride, a teen advocate.

The goal of the event is to help both teens and parents feel empowered and understand how to confront domestic violence head-on.

The symposium will be held Saturday at noon at Child Care Answers, 1776 N. Meridian St., Indianapolis. Again, the event is free, but you need to register in advance at this link.