Young people experiencing relationships that cause them to feel scared, controlled or who are harmed can find local help and support.
Safer Somerset Partnership launched a county wide campaign this week to raise awareness on spotting the signs of unhealthy relationships amongst teenagers.
Young people experience the highest rates of domestic abuse of any age group. For many, experiences of domestic abuse begin in the childhood home. It is estimated that 1 in 5 children are exposed to domestic abuse. This means that for many young people, their experience of domestic violence does not begin in their own relationships, but in the childhood home from witnessing adult relatives in abusive relationships.
According to the Safe Lives report “Safe Young Lives”: young people and domestic abuse, in March 2015, the Crime Survey of England and Wales identified that 6.6% of men and 12.6% of women aged 16 to 19 had experienced domestic abuse in the past year.
In Somerset, the number of teenagers between the age group 16/17 years receiving support through the Domestic Abuse Service has increased significantly from 2016/17 (2) to 2020/21 (14) indicating the need to address teenage abuse and unhealthy relationship.
Speaking on the launch of the campaign, Cabinet Member for Public Health & Well-Being and Climate Change Cllr Clare Paul, said, “Young victims can experience all forms of domestic abuse and the likelihood of experiencing high severity abuse is no different to adults.
“Through this campaign, we urge anybody who is worried they are in an abusive relationship or that their teenager is in an unhealthy relationship, to get advice and support. Domestic abuse, be it physical, psychological or coercive is wrong. If someone is hurting you or making you do something you don’t want to, please get help by contacting our support service: http://www.somersetsurvivors.org.uk or call 0800 69 49 999 to know more.”
Young people in abusive relationships often experience partners:
· Constantly checking their phone and/or emails without permission
· Putting them down in front of others or to their face
· Trying to stop them seeing family and friends
· Mood swings and explosive temper
· Possessiveness and extreme jealously
· Making false accusations
· Asking them to take part in ‘sexting’
· Making them have sex without consent
· Making them watch pornography or filming them having sex
· Telling them what they can/can’t wear, where they can/can’t go
· Physically hurting them in any way
· Saying they will hurt themselves/someone else if they don’t do something
Any relationship that does not make anyone feel good is an unhealthy relationship. For young people demonstrating harmful behaviour, and for those they are harming, help and support is available. visit www.somersetsurvivors.org.uk or call 0800 69 49 999 to know more.
In an emergency, call the police 999. If you can’t speak, listen to the question and then tap or cough to answer. Press 55 to signal an emergency.
We urge you to support our campaign using #HealthyTeenRelationship on the council’s social media pages. You can also view our latest campaign video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-d3pa_wv1c