Domestic Abuse Helpline
24 hour domestic abuse helpline
Young People & Unhealthy Relationships
Young people can experience domestic abuse but might not recognise it in those terms. Framing the behaviour as an unhealthy relationship might make it easier for them to accept that the relationship is harmful to them or that they are being harmed by a family member.
- 94% of young people who experience abuse from an intimate partner are young women
- 20% of teenage girls have been assaulted by a boyfriend often in their first intimate relationship
- 20% of teenage victims of domestic abuse are pregnant, pregnancy increases the risk of domestic abuse
- 78% have experienced controlling behaviour, threats to kill, threats to expose sexual activity as well as being isolated from family & friends
- 76% have experienced physical abuse including pushing, slapping, broken bones and internal injuries
- 53% have experienced harassment and stalking
- 22% have experienced sexual assault including rape, sexual coercion
- 70% of victims had reported to the Police on average twice
- 27% had attended A&E twice as a result of the abuse experienced
- 42% had made on average 5 visits to their GP
- 67% of teenagers experience most serious domestic abuse
- Central Bedfordshire has a higher rate of male victims aged 16-19 than the national average and is seeing an increase in domestic abuse perpetrators under the age of 20 reported to the Police and referred to MARAC
Young people's experiences
- Young people can be subject to domestic abuse from a family member research shows that just under half of young people exposed to domestic abuse/violence are being directly harmed by a family member.
- The abuse might be carried out by a parent or family member who is trying to coerce a young person into forced marriage - a young person might not return to education - they disappear
- There could be honour based violence and abuse
- A young person might have additional needs that makes them more vulnerable to abuse
- Young people are less likely to confide in an adult or seek support or they do not engage if referred to an agency for support
- Young people have less experience of relationships and so are unsure of what is a healthy relationship
- A lot of abuse happens online, further isolating the young person. It can include texts, checking location, sharing intimate messages/pictures. Sexting is coercive, pressuring the young person.
If you are a young person or you are worried about a young person the following questions might help un pick the situation
- Is your partner jealous and possessive of you?
- Does s/he get angry when you want to spend time with your friends or demand that you spend all your time with them?
- Does s/he check your phone, email, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter accounts?
- Does s/he try and get you to de-friend people on Facebook, take down your photos, or stop you messaging your friends?
- Is s/he always calling, texting or messaging you to check where you are and who you are with?
- Does s/he tell you what to wear or how to do your hair?
- Does s/he laugh at you or put you down in front of other people?
- Does s/he get aggressive? Does s/he hit, shove, slap or kick you?
- Does s/he threaten to harm you – or himself?
- Does s/he call you names?
- Does s/he pressure you to have sex when you don’t want to, telling you that “everyone is doing it” or that you would do it “if you really loved them”?
- Are you frightened of your partner?
- Have you changed your behaviour to suit your partner?
- Is your partner afraid of you?
- Are you afraid of someone that you live with?
- Is anyone that you live with afraid of you?
Support for young people
- Change Ur Life young people who have experienced domestic abuse can contact the service 07495 825762
- Sorted counselling service offers the Fortis project for young people who have experienced domestic abuse call 01582 674442
- Young Central Bedfordshire offers information including support services
- Bedford Borough Council information for young people
- Tokko Youth Space based in Luton 01582 544990
- Bedford Open Door is a counselling service that supports young people 13-25 who live in the North of Central Bedfordshire 01234 360388
Support for young women only
- Luton All Women’s Centre 01582 416 783
- Women’s Aid In Luton 01582 391856
- Stepping Stones 01582 457114
National Support is available
- National Domestic Abuse Helpline 0808 2000 247
- Karma Nirvana 0800 5999 247 9-5 Mon- Fri
- Forced Marriage Unit 0207 008 0151
- The Mankind Initiative 01823 334244
- Respect Men’s Advice Line reephone 0808 801 0327 Monday-Friday 9am- 5pm
- LGBT+ young people who are experiencing domestic abuse can contact any of the agencies mentioned above; there is a national telephone number for LGBT+ people 0800 999 5428 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Details of support is available on the Get Help section of the BDAP website
- If there is concern about escalation a MARAC referral can be made more information about making a referral is available on the BDAP MARAC page
If the young person is perpetrating the abuse and is over 16 years of age
- Support can also be found on the Respect Phoneline website
If the young person is under 18, a referral to the appropriate Safeguarding Hub for the local authority where they live in can be made, to access support for them
Bedford Borough Council here
Central Bedfordshire Council here
Luton Borough Council here