Many teenagers believe that domestic abuse or violence only happens in long term relationships with older people but this is not true. Abuse can happen at any age, and it is not restricted to heterosexual relationships – those in same sex relationships can be victims too.
If you are in a relationship with someone, you should feel loved, safe, respected and free to be yourself.
A few of the signs that you are in an abusive relationship are:
- Your partner may call you names or threaten to spread rumours about you
- They might try to control you by checking your phone
- They may try to force you to do things by hitting you
- They might get angry when you want to spend time with your friends
- They may try and pressure you into having sex by saying ‘If you loved me you would’
Aimed at both young victims and perpetrators, the This is Abuse campaign was developed by the Home Office in response to the change in the definition of domestic violence last year. This included lowering the victim’s age to 16, due to the level of abuse experienced by young people in relationships.
The campaign website, thisisabuse.direct.gov.uk, has some really valuable information and you can find out how to get support at Lambeth secondary schools, youth centres, sexual health clinics and colleges.
Help is also available from the Gaia Centre, our support service for victims of all gender based violence, including domestic violence, FGM, stalking and trafficking. You can get in touch for one-to-one confidential support and advice on 020 7733 8724 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The free service is available for women (aged 13+) or men (aged 16+) and is run by female members of staff only.
For more advice and information visit the This is Abuse website.