Teenagers Experiencing Violence In Relationships Are Being Let Down

Experts have warned under 16s fall between the gap of child services and domestic violence support.

Young persons silhouette

by Georgia Aspinall |
Updated on

New research has warned that young people experience violence in relationships so often that is should be considered a public health issue in the same way as smoking or substance abuse.

According to a study by Cardiff University, 17% of boys and 12% of girls aged 11 to 16 had experienced physical violence by a romantic partner at least once. In the first large-scale survey on the issue, 75,000 young people were questioned. Over half reported their dating experience, and a total of 5,838 young people had experienced an incident of violence.

However, there aren’t sufficient bespoke services to tackle this issue, with young people of this age falling between the gap of child social services and domestic violence support.

‘Yes they fall within child protection, but the services that social services can then offer are quite different and aren't bespoke enough for what they need,’ Catherine Hill, spokesperson for Phoenix Domestic Abuse Services – which is based in Wales - told the BBC.

‘So many domestic abuse services will have packages of support for young children who have witnessed [abuse], but when they're victims within their own right, it can become quite difficult,’ she added.

Because of the gap, complications arise about whose responsibility it is to fund services protecting young people from domestic abuse. The Welsh government says it supports under-16s suffering this type of abuse through school programmes about healthy relationships and training workshops for people who work with under 16s on peer relationship abuse.

According to Graham Moore, deputy leader of Cardiff University's health research, young people experiencing violence in romantic relationships would have just as profound an impact as any other form of violence in adolescence, such as child abuse from parents.

‘In some ways the relationships we have in adolescence are very formative and set the tone for the way we approach relationships later in life as well,’ he added. The research found that children from all socio-economic backgrounds were affected and that rates were higher among single-parent households.

Read More:

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‘I Met One Woman Who Was Forced To Eat Out Of A Dog Bowl On The Floor’ – Why Today’s Domestic Abuse Bill Covers Could Save Women’s Lives

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