So often domestic abuse is considered as an issue for adults and is rarely associated with young people. This is just not the case 25% of girls and 16% of boys age 13-17 reported being physically assaulted by a partner.
Abusive behaviours and attitudes are normalised by music, television, films, magazines and celebrities to the point that many young people view abusive behaviour as the model of a relationship to aspire to. They want someone who is going to take charge, tell them what to do, text and phone them constantly, never let them go... The sexualisation of our culture has led to many young people believing sexual pressure and abuse by a partner is acceptable and that in order to 'keep' a partner they must do whatever they are told sexually, including gang rape, creating pornography and prostitution.
The effects of domestic abuse on young people are all encompassing. These include:
Often abuse experienced by a young person isn't taken seriously by professionals, leading to further danger and abuse for the young person. The majority of young people do not tell anyone about the abuse they are experiencing, if they do speak to someone, it is usually one of their friends. Most young people do not have the understanding to realise what is happening and cannot effectively support their friends.
We need to provide education and awareness for young people so they recognise abuse for what it is, so when their friends talk about experiencing abuse they can support them effectively, so that if they are perpetrating abuse this can be challenged and change made possible.