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Philly-based domestic violence prevention advocate shares signs of abuse after Bucks County teen killed

Domestic violence prevention advocate debriefs signs of abuse after Bucks County teen killed
Domestic violence prevention advocate debriefs signs of abuse after Bucks County teen killed 03:23

YARDLEY, Pa. (CBS) – The death of a teenage girl, in what officials are calling an episode of deadly domestic violence, has led a Philadelphia organization to offer its help to others facing interpersonal violence in relationships. 

"Domestic violence does not care about your age. It's not gender specific. It's not any of those things," said Michelle Austin, founder of Heal and Rebuild Unbreakable Spirit, Inc. 

Austin, a domestic violence survivor and certified domestic violence prevention advocate, said it is critical teens like 19-year-old Jaden Battista -- who investigators said died at the hands of her ex-boyfriend -- know they are not alone.

"I've had people come to me as young as about 17," Austin said. 

Domestic violence survivor, advocate shares signs to look out for in relationships 02:08

She said people in abusive relationships can notice signs long before the police are called.

"If you see someone who is moving too quickly in the relationship, they want to isolate you so quickly from your family and friends; they want to make some changes in your daily routine or things that you were doing before you met them, that's a red flag," Austin said. 

Family and friends can notice both subtle and obvious signs that a relation is turning unhealthy or violent, she added.

"Their mood changes because they start to go inside themselves more. So, their self-esteem will begin to plummet," she explained. "For events, at the last minute, they cancel, don't show up, or maybe you see the makeup because they have some black eyes."

However, she said that teens and families can find help at their fingertips.

"There are many things that are on social media right now, that are talking about those things," Austin said. "You can go online; you can Google some things. There are plenty of things out here for them."

Austin urged family, friends and people in these types of relationships to call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799-SAFE (7233). She also said it is critical teens tell everyone around them that they need help.

"Make sure that you tell the police. Make sure that you tell your family members or friends or whoever you can confide in," Austin said. "Whether it's your job if you are at work, let security know that this person, if they see them, that you are in danger."

Austin said she will go on helping other teens and adults to honor Battista.

"It really saddens me that we've lost someone to such a horrific thing as domestic abuse," she said. 

Lower Makefield Police identified the suspect as 23-year-old Trevor Weigel. Investigators said on Friday, at around 2:30 p.m., police arrived to Battista's grandmother's home to find Weigel stabbing her in front of the home. 

Police said officers chased Weigel who stabbed himself in the neck. Investigators then arrested Weigel, who now faces murder, burglary and other charges.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, these resources can help.

  • A Woman's Place: 800-220-8116
  • NOVA Bucks County: 800-675-6900
  • National Hotline: 800-799-SAFE (7233)
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