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York Parents Given Warning Signs of Teenage Relationship Abuse

Domestic Abuse

12:36pm 20th January 2014

York parents have been issued with the warning signs to spot if their teenager is in an abusive relationship, as the city council joins a Home Office campaign on the issue.

The following warning signs might alert parents to abuse in their teenager’s relationship:

  • Isolation – no longer spending time with a usual circle of friends;
  • Being withdrawn or quieter than usual;
  • Changing their appearance, clothes, make up or style;
  • Making excuses for a boyfriend or girlfriend;
  • Physical signs of injury, such as unexplained scratches or bruises.

“This is Abuse”, which is targeted at 13 to 18-year old boys and girls, aims to prevent teenagers from becoming victims and perpetrators of abusive relationships by getting them to think about their views on violence, abuse, controlling behaviour and what consent means in their relationships.  The campaign also directs teenagers to places for help and advice. 

As part of the campaign York Council is sending posters, contact cards and DVDs to all secondary schools in the city so that schools can help tackle the issue of teenage relationship abuse by displaying the posters and encourage teenagers to talk about abuse to raise awareness of the subject.

“This is Abuse” is being supported by the national media.  MTV has been running TV, digital and social media adverts encouraging young people to visit a dedicated website to get further help and support.   Hollyoaks characters, who have recently been involved in an abusive storyline in the teenage soap, have taken part in a "This is Abuse" advert, which is being broadcast on Channel 4, to help raise the awareness of the issue further. 

City of York Council’s Director of Health and Wellbeing, Dr Paul Edmondson-Jones said: “It is really important that we do what we can to inform teenagers that abuse in relationships is not normal or acceptable, and what’s more if you are in an abusive relationship, it’s not your fault.  Through the "This is Abuse" campaign City of York Council wants to raise awareness among teenagers, and their parents and carers, that it's not just physical violence, like punching or kicking, that makes a relationship abusive, if you are threatened with violence, have no say over what you wear or who you speak to, or are consistently criticised, it is still abuse."

Cabinet Member for Health, Housing and Adult Service, Councillor Tracey Simpson-Laing said: “City of York Council is also hoping to help parents and carers understand more about violence and abuse in teenage relationships through the “This is Abuse” campaign.  The parent's and carer's guide, which will be sent to families in the city, highlights the surprising frequency of abuse in teenage relationships and the levels of tolerance by teenagers to violence in relationships.  It is important to remember that abuse can happen to anyone regardless of age, gender or family situations.  Teenagers subjected to relationship abuse can offer suffer from long-term mental and physical health problems, depression, drug and alcohol problems and sexually risk-taking behaviour so it is really important we tackle this problem as effectively as possible."  

Detective Superintendent Heather Pearson of North Yorkshire Police’s Protecting Vulnerable Person’s Unit, said: “We welcome City of York Council’s support in raising awareness of this important issue. It’s vital that young people – both victims and perpetrators - understand what constitutes abuse. If anyone believes they are a victim, they should not hesitate to seek help. The campaign website has a wealth of information and can sign-post you to help which is available. North Yorkshire Police also has specially trained officers who investigate this type of crime, so please do not hesitate to call us if you are a victim.”

For more information about “This is Abuse”, if you need some support to get out of an abusive relationship or want to talk someone visit http://thisisabuse.direct.gov.uk/

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