What is teenage abuse? Factsheet for ages 12 to 18


The factsheets attached will provide parents, carers and teenagers with advice and support relating to teenage relationship abuse.  This is part of our commitment to working in partnership to keep children and young people safe.

Service Description

Relationship abuse is a rising concern among teenagers. Surprisingly, this isn’t as uncommon as many parents may think. Research by organisations such as the NSPCC show a rise in the number of teens who report to have experienced sexual or physical abuse from their teen partner.

It is recommended you talk to your child about what makes a relationship healthy and safe.

Talking to your child provides an opportunity for you to help them:

  • understand qualities that make a relationship loving, respectful and safe
  • apply these qualities to their relationships now and in the future
  • understand signs of abuse in a relationship
  • understand the consequences an ‘unhealthy’ and ‘unsafe’ relationship can have for them
  • know how to spot the positive and negative signs in a relationship to protect themselves from becoming a victim or an abuser (perpetrator)
  • know they can always speak to you if they find themselves confused, worried or concerned by what’s happening in their relationship
  • know where and how they can get help and support from other specialist services if ever they need to

As well as sexual or physical, other forms of abuse include, but not limited to:

  • threats / insults
  • emotional abuse
  • isolation from friends and family
  • controlling what they wear or who they socialise with
  • monitoring and controlling where they are/what they are doing

Controlling behaviour is likely to escalate into violence and patterns of abusive behaviour.

Teenage relationship abuse is often hidden because teens:

  • have little experience of relationships so may not recognise abuse
  • have ‘romantic’ views of love so may ignore or excuse abuse
  • can be under pressure from their peers to act cool about everything
  • accept the abuse for fear of, or in preference to, being single

The risks to teens in relationships varies from exploitation, physical and emotional harm through to a police or criminal record. It is important your child is aware of these to help them develop the skills needed to assess risky situations and keep themselves safe.

In this factsheet we explore:

  • what is teenage abuse?
  • who and where it can happen?
  • types of relationship abuse
  • stalking and harassment
  • where to get help

There are two attached activity sheets suitable for KS3 and one for KS4 students.  They explore different situations and viewpoints of a moment that has happened within a relationship. Students are encouraged to reflect on various viewpoints, discuss and answer the questions. 

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