Young people in abusive relationships

If you're in a relationship and feel frightened or unhappy about the way your partner treats you, you don't have to put up with it. It can be hard to know what's "normal" in a relationship. It can take time to get to know each other and discover what works for you both.

But there's one thing that's for sure: abusive or violent behaviour is not acceptable. If it's happening to you, it's OK to ask for help and advice. Partner abuse can happen to anyone of any age, culture or religion. It can happen to boys or girls, but it's much more likely to happen to girls. Young people in same-sex relationships are also more likely to be affected.

No-one should have to put up with violence in any form. If it's happening to you, talk to a person you trust, such as a parent, a trusted adult or a friend. Don't hold it in - talk to someone.

More information and advice can be found at Disrespect Nobody.

What is abuse in a relationship?

Abuse in relationships can happen to anyone. It’s not normal, it’s never OK and definitely not part of a healthy relationship. It isn’t always physical, it can include emotional, verbal, coercive control, financial, sexual abuse. If your relationship leaves you feeling scared, intimidated or controlled, it’s possible you’re in an abusive relationship.

Abusive behaviour is not okay, even if some people tell you it is. Violence and abuse in relationships is not normal, it is not "just the way things are" or "messing around". It's a serious issue. If you’re experiencing abuse, or have done in the past, please remember that you’re not to blame and there are people who can help.

Get help for abuse

If you're in an abusive relationship and you want help, don't be scared to talk to someone about it. Remember, it's not your fault, no matter what anyone says, and it is far better to talk about it with someone. It doesn't matter if you've been drinking or what you've been wearing. There is no excuse.

It can be difficult to ask for help, try asking someone you trust if you can talk to them about your relationship.

For example:

  • An adult mentor or a favourite teacher at school
  • Your mum, dad or another trusted adult – perhaps a friend's mum
  • An adviser on a helpline such as ChildLine (0800 1111)
  • A GP or nurse 
  • A friend

And remember, try again if you don't get the response you think you need. If you are in immediate danger call 999.

What to do if you think a friend is being abused

If you think a friend might be experiencing abuse, talk to them. Keep calm, and don't judge them or what they are going through. It can be difficult to raise your worries about your friend to them, but try. If you're concerned, don't worry that you might be wrong, worry that you might be right.

 Try asking your friend if you can talk about something. Tell them you're worried about them and ask them whether everything is OK. Listen to them and let them know that nobody has to put up with abuse. If they have been hurt, offer to go to the doctor with them.

Have the number of a useful helpline, such as ChildLine on 0800 1111 or in Southampton the Pippa Helpline 023 8091 7917, ready to give to them.

Your friend might be angry or upset with you for a while, but they will know you care and you might have helped them realise they can get help.

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