URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — One and three teens experience violence while dating. One central Illinois group is trying to prevent it where it starts. Courage Connection in Urbana wrapped up its last teen dating violence awareness class today.

It’s a five-course class taught each week in participating schools. Courage Connection uses a “respect” model. It stands for relationships, empowerment, safety, protection, equality, and consent for teens.

The instructor, Brooke Wilsey, said it’s important to teach these qualities to kids as they start dating. She said teens often find themselves in violent relationships without realizing it. Now, these classes are aiming to prevent certain behaviors from being normal to these teenagers.

“One question that I would ask was, ‘is it okay to ask your partner to respond to a text message in a certain amount of time?’ and that to me would seem like that would be a no-brainer. No, they can’t tell me that,” Said Brooke Wilsey, education coordinator, ” But a lot of kids think it’s okay to give their partner a five [or] ten-minute period that they have to respond back to them.”

She said prevention is everything during this stage of their lives. By the end of her course, students are able to identify red flags when abuse is happening to them and when they’re abusing others.

She said all teens are different but if your teen has become more reclusive, less social outside of their partner, or if you notice controlling behavior, she said to try to talk to them.

Courage Connection also provides counseling for teens and family members.

Schools that are interested can reach out to Courage Connection at 217-352-7151.