Domestic abuse in young relationships

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Domestic abuse isn’t just something that happens to adults. 

Five percent of all domestic abuse incidents reported involve girls aged between 16-18 years old.  Many more are going unreported. 

What counts as abuse? 

Domestic abuse doesn't always involve physical violence. If your boyfriend/girlfriend tries to control or dominate you, threatens you or makes you feel nervous, that could be abusive behaviour.

Does your boyfriend/girlfriend embarrass or humiliate you in front of family, friends or in public?

Do they deliberately destroy your property or cherished possessions?

Do they force you to engage in sexual acts that you are not comfortable with?

Do they threaten to publish explicit photos of you on social network sites or send you or your friends threatening text messages? 

This is domestic abuse.

Abuse can happen at any time but it often begins or gets worse after you’ve broken up, when a girl is pregnant or has recently had a baby.

Warning signs

It’s important to know the difference between loving and controlling behaviour. What might appear as someone caring for you can be signs of an abusive relationship.

If this is your first relationship you may not have a lot of experience in spotting the warning signs.

Here are some things you might want to look out for:

Does he/she...

  • text and call you all the time?
  • want you to spend ALL your time together?
  • get jealous when you chat to friends and other boys/girls?
  • make you wear clothes he/she likes?
  • pressure you to take the relationship further?
  • try to humiliate you when you fall out?
  • say they would KILL themselves if you left him/her?
  • get violent with you?

There is no reason why your boyfriend/girlfriend should humiliate, control or be violent to you.

What can you do?

If you, or someone you know, is being abused it’s important to get help. 

There are a lot of ways to report domestic abuse including using our online form or going to a third party reporting centre.

All reports are investigated and your safety and wellbeing will be of prime importance. We may also put you in touch with support groups who can offer help.

Remember, if you are being abused you are not to blame. It is not your fault and you don’t have to put up with it.

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