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Teenage Relationships

If your child is in a healthy relationship with someone, they should feel loved, safe, respected and free to be themselves. There are different forms of abuse, but if your child’s relationship leaves them feeling scared, intimidated or controlled then they are in an abusive relationship. Abuse is not normal and never ok.


Domestic abuse can happen to anyone regardless of gender, sexuality and age (including teenagers) and take many forms, but remember you don’t have to be hit to be abused .

Emotional, psychological and financial control are also very serious forms of domestic abuse. Domestic abuse often escalates over time – what starts as verbal and emotional abuse can turn into physical violence.

Controlling behaviour is : a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependent by isolating them from sources of support such as family and friends , exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour.

Coercive behaviour is : an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim.

Domestic abuse often escalates over time – what starts as verbal and emotional abuse can turn into physical violence.

Is my child being abused in their relationship?

  If you can answer yes to any of the below points  then your child is being abused .

If your child is frightened of their partner, or your feel that your child has to change their behaviour because they are scared of their partner’s reaction, then your child is being abused .

  • Is their partner very jealous and possessive of them?
  • Does their partner get angry when your child wants to spend time with their friends or demands that your child spend all their time with them?
  • Does their partner check their phone, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter?
  • Does their partner try to get them to defriend people on Facebook, take down their photos or stop them messaging their friends?
  • Are they always calling, texting or messaging to check where your child is and who they are with?
  • Do they tell your child what to wear or how to do their hair?
  • Does your child’s partner laugh at them or put them down in front of other people
  • Does your child’s partner get aggressive? Do they hit, shove, slap or kick your child?
  • Does your child’s partner threaten to harm them – or themselves if your child tries to leave them?
  • Does your child’s partner call them names?
  • Does your child’s partner pressure them to have sex when they don’t want to (without consent), telling your child that “everyone else is doing it” or that they would do it “if they really loved them”
  • Does your child’s partner pressure them to send sexual texts and images of themselves
  • Does your child’s partner share any sexual texts and images of your child with their friends

Sexual Activity and the law

The legal age for young people to consent to have sex is 16 years , whether they are straight, gay or bisexual.

Children under the age of 13 are legally deemed incapable of consenting to sexual activity and therefore all incidences of sexual behaviour involving children under 13 should be considered as a potential criminal or child protection matter.

The following You Tube video deals with the issue of consent in relationships in an engaging way, you might want to watch this with your teenager.

A transcript of the Tea Consent video can be found here