Young people in Barking and Dagenham are being encouraged to help their mates who are in abusive relationships by a new leaflet now being distributed throughout the borough.
The leaflet, called ‘How to help your mates – young people and relationship violence’ is targeted at people worried that their friends may be in an abusive relationship. It outlines signs and ways to help and support them.
Recent research showed that violence in teenage relationships is very common and that teenagers have surprisingly tolerant attitudes to violence in relationships.
Victoria Hill, who leads on domestic violence prevention for NHS Barking and Dagenham said:
“Relationship violence is rarely one-off and often gets worse over time. It is important that local young people understand it’s something that may happen to them or their friends.
“We want to challenge the attitudes of 13-18 year olds in the borough before this behaviour becomes embedded and encourage teenagers to be good friends by supporting their friends in unsafe relationships to get help and support”.
NHS Barking and Dagenham has produced the leaflet in supporting of a government campaign (launched on 15 February) tackling attitudes to violence in teenage relationships. The campaign aims to interrupt the pattern of violence by showing teens that the behaviour is unacceptable and to influence them before their attitudes or behaviour become too entrenched.
Next year government policy will mean local schools will further reinforce this message by teaching children how to prevent violent relationships as part of the curriculum.