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Charlotte Mecklenburg Police is using an unlikely platform to get teens talking about teen dating violence: high school basketball games.
February is teen domestic violence awareness month and CMPD is partnering with local schools to raise awareness about the dangers of abusive relationships among teenagers.
Detectives from CMPD's domestic violence unit were at West Mecklenburg High School Friday night when they Lady Hawks took on Garinger's Wildcats.
They encouraged students to wear purple, the official color of domestic violence awareness.
Detective Major Kay told WBTV why they chose to reach out to students at basketball games.
"The kids are more relaxed when they come into a game," he said. "There are less constraints on them as far as faculty and what's done and said in the classroom. So we feel by setting up a booth here, there are teens out there having issues will feel more free to come up and talk to us about their situation."
Det. Kay also said it's a chance to reach teens and start a dialogue about a tough subject.
"Some kids don't believe, 'it can happen to me'," he said. "'It's not going to happen to me.' It's not happening at our school, this doesn't happen in our community. So we're here to say, well it does.
Nina McReed, the parent of teenage girls and boys, was happy to see police there making the effort.
"When you're looking at it from a parent's perspective, domestic violence is very real," she said. "It's hidden from teenagers that we don't really talk about, but you don't see it as much."
As Detective Kay spoke with both students and parents, he told WBTV having parents aware of the dangers of teen dating violence goes a long way in stopping it.
"They're going to see the signs before anyone else," he said. "They're going to hear the phone calls late at night. They're going to see the kids when they're really upset at the dinner table."
It's also why McReed works hard to keep the lines of communication open with her teens.
"Everything is open, everything is upfront," she said. "From guys to girls to sex, whatever it is. The communication has to be there."
CMPD's domestic violence unit will also be at Olympic High School on February 12 when the Trojans take on the Phillip O. Berry Cardinals.
Concerned teens can call 704-336-2811 if you think you are victim of teen dating violence.