Domestic Abuse Campaign

This campaign is designed around spreading awareness of domestic abuse within young individuals. This will cover how a young person may be affected by domestic abuse, how to spot it, what to do and where to seek support/guidance from professionals.

What is Domestic Abuse?
In England and Wales the cross-governmental definition of domestic violence and abuse is: Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality. The abuse can encompass, but is not limited to, psychological, physical, sexual, financial and emotional.

Abuse in relationships:
The research project 'Boys to Men' found that 49% of boys and 33% of girls aged 13 – 14 thought that hitting a partner would be ‘okay’ in at least one of twelve scenarios they were presented with. There is evidence that educational programmes can help change the attitudes of young people towards domestic abuse and the recent announcement by government that Relationships and Sex Education will be made mandatory in schools is an important step.

An evidence synthesis by Stonard et al (2014) found that the percentage of young people reporting to have experienced some form of abuse from a partner through new technologies ranged from 12 to 56% across studies. The Women and Equalities Committee enquiry on sexual harassment and sexual violence in schools identified technological advances, including online platforms, as one of the facilitators for harassment and violence.

Vulnerability & Risks:
Young people experience a complex transition from childhood to adulthood. This transition impacts on the social, emotional, psychological, physical and biological development of the young person. As a result, young people who experience domestic abuse do so at a particularly vulnerable point in their lives.

There are also aspects of a young person’s development that are likely to directly influence their response to abusive behaviour. Growth models suggest that adolescence is when a young person starts to establish their own philosophy of the world, and to grapple with their own moral and ethical boundaries and beliefs, alongside redefining relationships with those around them. These physical and psychological changes in adolescence will impact a young person’s own behaviour and response to the behaviour of others.

The Impact, signs and what to look for:
Young victims of domestic abuse may experience major Mental Health problems like depression or anxiety; they may also begin to self-harm or start to show signs of self neglect. Young victims may also begin to distance themselves from others, wear make-up to cover up abuse or self harm. They may also have physical health problems from the abuse that may cause temporary or permanent physical disabilities. Victims may also be effected financially from financial abuse where the perpetrator may steal or take funds from the victim without their knowledge or consent - as a result they may start to suffer in other area's of life where a payment or subscription is required.

What to do:
If a child / young person talks to you about domestic abuse it's important to:
Listen carefully to what they're saying
Let them know they've done the right thing by telling you
Tell them it's not their fault
Say you'll take them seriously
Don't confront the alleged abuser
Explain what you'll do next
Report what the child has told you as soon as possible

Services that can help: Childline: | 0800 1111 | Livechat available
Refuge: | 0808 2000 247 | Livechat available
Respect: | 0808 8010 327 | Livechat available
Respond: | 0207 3830 700 | Livechat unavailable

In circumstances where you feel a life may be in danger please contact your local emergency services as soon as possible.