A new campaign to tackle domestic violence among teenage couples has recently been launched by the Home Office. The government outlined the £2million TV, Internet, radio and poster campaign as part of a new strategy to try and reduce the number of girls and women who are domestically abused.
The campaign includes a series of adverts, which are aimed at both boys and girls between the ages of 13-18. Domestic violence among teenagers has become more of an issue than ever before, and part of the new campaign is to tackle the issue in early adulthood before any patterns of violence can occur.
Christopher Cloke, head of child protection awareness at the NSPCC says: “The home office campaign sends out an important message to teenagers that violence in relationships is wrong and that they shouldn’t put up with it.”
A recent NSPCC survey found that one in four teenage girls in a relationship had suffered violence, such as being slapped or punched by their boyfriends, while one in six had been pressured into sex.
19-year-old Sarah had been with her boyfriend for two years when he first attacked her: “It wasn’t a progression. It happened suddenly and unexpectedly. I believe the violence was driven by jealousy, but in a weird and twisted way it showed he cared.”
While the NSPCC research found that physical abuse wasn’t unusual most women are too shocked by the attack to and try to fight back, but that’s where Sarah’s different: “I wasn’t happy about it but there wasn’t much I could do — I didn’t feel like a victim as I fought back but of course I took all the damage because he is much stronger. We were both much calmer after fights, as we got all the anger out of our system.”
Domestic violence can happen to anyone, and yet the problem is often overlooked, excused or denied. Domestic violence is often a misunderstood issue. Many understand the issue as a physical attack of one person to another, yet it’s the mental and verbal abuse that is most common, and the most undetected. Jealous, controlling and possessive behaviour are key signs of mental abuse.
Shane Meadows, the award winning director of the TV advert said he wanted to highlight the problem of emotional violence, including verbal insults and controlling behavior such as monitoring text messages.
Student Jordan Morley says: “There’s never an excuse for domestic violence. I think there’s a thin line between arguing and abuse, and sometimes people forget where the boundaries are.”
Whilst it’s uncommon, it’s not unheard of for males to be victims in violent relationships. NSPCC statistics show that almost one in five boys have suffered physical violence in a relationship.
The saying goes, love is blind, and when you’re in a relationship it’s extremely tough to identify the signs of an abusive relationship. Recognising that you’re the victim of domestic violence is an important step.
It took a lot of courage but Sarah found the strength to walk away from her violent relationship, if only for a while: “We are back together, although we don’t officially call it a relationship. I told him I would walk away if he ever dared to hurt me again. I think he came to his senses and realised it was wrong. Although we do argue, he hasn’t touched me in over a year. And things are starting to get really good again – although there are trust issues from both sides.”
The NSPCC want victims to know there is help available: “We must make sure that every young person knows this behavior is never acceptable, that nobody should hurt or scare them.”Tweet