What is Teenage Relationship Abuse?

Since March 2013, the Home Office definition of domestic violence now includes 16 – 18 year olds, so ‘What is teenage relationship abuse?’

Emotional abuse

  • Constant insults and name calling
  • Isolation from friends and family
  • Controlling what someone wears or where they go
  • Checking up on partners all the time (inc. checking emails, texts, social networking sites etc)
  • Making the person feel responsible for the abuse

Physical abuse

  • Hitting, punching, pushing, biting, kicking, using weapons etc

Sexual abuse

  • Forcing someone to have sex
  • Unwanted kissing or touching
  • Being made to watch pornography without consent
  • Pressure not to use contraception

Financial abuse

  • Taking/controlling your money
  • Forcing people to buy them things
  • Forcing partners to work or not to work

Warning Signs of Relationship Abuse might include

  • Physical signs of injury / illness
  • Truancy, failing grades
  • Withdrawal, passivity, being compliant
  • Changes in mood and personality
  • Isolation from family and friends
  • Frequent texts and calls from boyfriend / girlfriend
  • Inappropriate sexual behaviour /language / attitudes
  • Depression
  • Pregnancy
  • Use of drugs / alcohol (where there was no prior use)
  • Self-harm
  • Eating disorders or problems sleeping
  • Symptoms of post-traumatic stress
  • Bullying / being bullied

Educational Issues in Relationship Abuse

  • Being late for school / not attending (especially if abuser attends same school)
  • Arriving early / staying late to avoid abuser
  • Not focussed in lessons as he or she is preoccupied and worried
  • Very gendered expectations of career and achievement
  • Feeling unsafe as afraid of being traced by abuser via school
  • Disturbed sleep affecting concentration
  • Appearing isolated and removed
  • Worried that everyone at school knows what is happening

Download Home Office Guide: Teacher’s Guide to Teenage Relationship Abuse

Photo Credit: Pulpolux
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