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Teenage relationships

Many young people treat high levels of abuse as "normal" relationship behaviour.  They rarely tell anyone about the abuse and almost never an adult.  Young people are also much more likely to believe abuse is the victims fault.

Risk factors include previous experiences of parental domestic violence, physical and sexual abuse and violent peer groups.

In a NSPCC survey:

  • 33% of girls and 16% of boys reported some form of sexual abuse
  • 25% of girls (the same proportion as adult women) and 18% of boys reported some form of physical relationship abuse

The coercive control in adolescent relationships is often very similar to the control that takes place in adult abusive relationships with victims being told where they can go, who they can see, what they can wear and how they should behave. There is often an almost constant surveillance through the use of social media and young victims can become isolated from their friends, family and other support networks.

Surveys tell us that young people often also have very compliant attitudes to abuse with one in five boys and one in ten girls thinking that abuse against women is acceptable and that jealousy, possessiveness, and even physical abuse is romantic.

Education and teaching resources

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