Abuse within young people's relationships

In considering the impact of domestic abuse in parental or quasi-parental relationships on young people it is important not to lose sight of the fact that domestic abuse can be experienced within young people's own intimate relationships.

Research from the University of Bristol and the NSPCC shows that 25% of girls aged 13-17, and 17% of boys, have experienced the use of physical force (pushing, slapping, hitting or being held down) in a relationship; more severe physical force (punching, strangling, being beaten up or being hit with an object) had been experienced by 11% of girls and 4% of boys. 72% of girls and 51% of boys had experienced emotional violence (most commonly “being made fun of” and “constantly being checked up on”). Overwhelmingly, young people keep these incidents within their peer group, talking to friends rather than to parents or carers or to other adults. 

New technologies are typically central as a means by which young people communicate with their peers, and this is often used against them, for example to keep surveillance of where they are and what they are doing and by monitoring their social media accounts.  

In general, young people want advice that is confidential, so that they can take time to form a relationship with the professional and explore their options. Some don't talk to anyone because they are concerned that either their experiences won't be taken seriously or that, at the other end of the spectrum, information will be passed on to other professionals and agencies without their agreement.

Teenage relationships tools and guidance

Practice briefing for professionals working with young people experiencing relationship abuse (from SafeLives)

Practice briefing for professionals working with young parents (from SafeLives)

Practice briefing for professionals working with young people with mental health needs (from SafeLives)

Practice briefing for professionals working with young people who misuse/abuse alcohol or substances (from SafeLives)

Research briefing for professionals working with young people at risk of child sexual exploitation (from SafeLives)

A teacher's guide to violence and abuse in teenage relationships (originally from the Home Office)

Sexting in schools: advice and support around self-generated images (originally from CEOP)

Act on it website (from Cheshire East County Council)

Disrespect Nobody website (from the Home Office, aimed at teenagers)

Disrespect Nobody teachers' discussion guides: