VERONA, Miss. (WTVA) -- October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and authorities said they hope to shed some light on an issue on the rise.
"I don't think they know the severity of the crimes and the punishment for the crimes," said Verona Police Chief Anthony Anderson.
Anderson said the face of domestic violence is changing. The victims and suspects are getting younger.
"We even got a case right now between a teenage girl and a teenage guy. The girl gets out of school. He follows her home. He sits outside her home. He is actually stalking her. These are laws on the books that are felony laws. The penalty for sexual battery is a maximum of 30 years," said Anderson.
Amelia Parkes, the community educator with SAFE, Inc., has partnered with the Lee County Library to host a teen violence awareness workshop. She said many teens do not report violence because they are afraid to tell family members or they are in denial.
"We like to show a lot of these videos when we do a program about dating violence because a lot of times they don't know they are a victim until (they see) someone else victimized," said Parkes.
She said teen dating violence can be physical, emotional or sexual.
Studies show people who harm their dating partners are more depressed and are more aggressive than peers.
"Get help," added Parkes. "A lot of times, teenagers want to handle things themselves, so they don't want to ask for a parent's help."
But she said sometimes you need the help to get out of a bad situation.