Parents of teenagers are being encouraged to look for signs of domestic abuse during the coming weeks of the school summer holidays, when young people are likely to spend more time at home.
Research indicates that around one in four teenage relationships will feature abuse or controlling behaviour and worryingly, some young people think that what they are experiencing is normal.
Now, the Safer North Hampshire community safety team is encouraging parents to be aware of the signs that their teenager is in an abusive relationship, and to talk with them about how to remain safe.
Some of the warning signs of an abusive relationship may include:
• No longer spending time with a usual circle of friends.
• Being withdrawn or quieter than usual.
• Being angry or irritable when asked how things are.
• Physical signs of injury such as unexplained scratches or bruises.
• Making excuses for a girlfriend or boyfriend.
Cllr Ken Muschamp, Chairman of the Safer North Hampshire Partnership, and member of the North East Hampshire Domestic Abuse Forum, said: “Having a conversation with your teenager can be daunting, but to start with, you could have a chat about what they think constitutes a healthy relationship.
“Explain that in their relationships, they have the right to feel valued, cared for and able to make their own decisions. Parents can explain that if the young person is concerned about either their, or a friend’s relationship, they can talk to you or, if that is difficult, to an organisation such as a domestic abuse service or the website www.disrespectnobody.co.uk.
• For more information please see www.safernh.co.uk
• Integrated Domestic Abuse Service for Hampshire: 0330 0165112.
• Respect phoneline – for those concerned about their abusive or controlling behaviour: 0808 802 4040.
• In an emergency call 999.