“What you always do before you make a decision is consult. The best public policy is made when you are listening to people who are going to be impacted. Then, once a policy is determined, you call on them to help you sell it.”
— Elizabeth Dole
Banner image (photo of Holyrood Parliament Banner image (photo of a delegate in a suit listening intently at a conference)

"In order to support the inclusion of 16-17 year olds we will: work with partners to develop an understanding of the different situations in which domestic violence may occur and how it may be experienced by young people. This will enable for signposting frontline professionals, who work with young people affected by domestic violence, to appropriate resources and supporting them to use their judgement to identify the right response for the individual victim, which may encompass a holistic approach involving child protection, safeguarding and domestic violence services."

Cross-Government Definition of Domestic Violence – A Consultation Summary of Responses, September 2012

“It is vital that victims themselves, and those supporting them, are clear what constitutes abuse so they seek the support they need early on and don’t suffer in silence. By engaging young people in the decisions that affect them we will improve the services being delivered and ensure communities are working together to challenge and tackle this dreadful form of abuse.”

- Home Office Minister for Crime Prevention, September 2012

“In December last year, we re-launched the This is Abuse campaign to help change some young people’s way of thinking. Through this campaign we want to prevent teenagers from becoming victims and perpetrators of abuse, encourage them to consider their views of abuse and the meaning of consent within relationships, and signpost them to help and advice. Crucially, a significant focus of the campaign is targeted at boys and young men to help them identify and challenge abusive behaviour.”

- ‘A Call to End Violence against Women and Girls Action Plan 2014', March 2014


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Domestic Violence and Young People:
Tackling Teenage Relationship Abuse

This event was held on Wednesday 24th September 2014.

Key Speakers

Dr. Sandra S. Cabrita Gulyurtlu, Senior Research Adviser, Office of the Children’s Commissioner
Detective Chief Inspector Steve Jackson, Domestic Abuse Coordinator, College of Policing
Pam Miller, Senior Analyst, Strategy Unit, NSPCC
Shabana Kausar, National Schools Engagement Officer, Women's Aid
Kate Iwi, Young People's Service Delivery Manager, Respect


There has been a growing awareness of teenage relationship abuse, with teenage girls now considered to be the group at greatest risk from violent relationships. Studies indicate that 1 in 4 teenage girls have experienced abuse by their partners, 3 in 4 have experienced emotional abuse and 1 in 3 have experienced sexual violence. 16% of boys had experienced sexual violence from a partner and 6.2% of young men aged 16-19 had experienced domestic abuse from a partner in the last year. In the last year Childline has counselled more than 2,000 under-19 years olds who needed help dealing with abuse from a current or former partner.

Building on the ‘Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls Action Plan’ (November 2010), the Government has done much to better understand and address this hidden issue. The 'Tackling Child Sexual Exploitation Action Plan' (November 2011) and the Office of the Children's Commissioner’s ‘Inquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation in Gangs and Groups’ (February 2014), have shed light on the particular vulnerability of young people to physical and sexual violence within their first relationships, irrespective of gender, background, ethnicity or locality. Analysis of the Government’s ‘This is Abuse’ campaign also indicates a normalisation and acceptability of abuse amongst young people and an alarming lack of understanding about sexual consent.

Seeking to underpin its commitment to address teenage relationship abuse, the Government changed the definition of domestic violence to include 16 and 17 year olds and coercive behaviour in March 2013. It is hoped this change will help to raise awareness of teen abuse amongst practitioners and police, and prevent young people from falling through the gap between child protection and domestic abuse services.

Alongside the change to the definition of DV, the Government pledged that practitioners will be supported by further training on risk assessments for young people and identifying the right response for the individual to ensure early and effective intervention. IDVAs and ISVAs will be trained in how to work with young people who have been affected by sexual abuse, exploitation, domestic violence and abuse from street gangs. It is also hoped that local areas will be empowered to use their discretion to provide domestic violence services, including MARACs, to younger victims when necessary.

The Government is clear that young people must also be equipped with an understanding of healthy relationships, consent, non-violence and gender equality, and to be able to easily access information, guidance and support when needed.

This special symposium offers an invaluable opportunity for practitioners across the child welfare, education, youth work and domestic violence services and key stakeholders to consider how to better identify and tackle physical, sexual and emotional abuse within teenage relationships.

Delegates will:

  • Assess the next steps to tackle teenage relationship abuse and how the latest developments can strengthen front-line responses to domestic and sexual violence
  • Discuss how to prevent relationship abuse by equipping young people with an understanding of healthy relationships, consent and non-violence
  • Consider how to strengthen local victim support services to ensure the needs of teenagers are met and their recovery facilitated
  • Examine how to work in partnership to deal effectively with young perpetrators 


09:30 Registration and Morning Refreshments
10:15 Chair's Welcome and Introduction
10:30 Panel Session One:
Preventing Teenage Relationship Abuse – Increasing Young People’s Resilience against Domestic Violence
  • Preventing Teenage Relationship Abuse - Examining the Impact Changing the Domestic Violence Definition has had and Considering the Next Steps
  • Raising Awareness of Teenage Domestic Violence and Abuse Amongst Practitioners, Parents and Children – Understanding the Risk Factors and Warning Signs
  • Providing Young People with Easily Accessible Information and Guidance, through School Councillors, Peer Mentors and Community Services
  • Equipping Young People with an Understanding of Healthy Relationships, Gender Equality, Sexual Consent, Non-Violence and the Impact of Pornography, and Encouraging Responsible Use of Technology
  • Tackling Sexual Exploitation – Building Young People’s Resilience to Control and Exploitation within Relationships, Responding Swiftly to Identify and End Abuse
11:15 Morning Coffee Break
11:30 Open Floor Discussion and Debate with Panel One
12:30 Networking Lunch
13:30 Panel Session Two:
Stopping Abuse, Providing Support - Intervening Effectively to Protect Young People from Domestic Violence
  • Strengthening Front-Line Responses to DV – Integrating the New DV Definition into Practitioner Guidance and Training
  • Improving Teachers’ Awareness of Relationship Abuse and How Best to Respond and Refer Incidences of Abuse In-Line with School/College and Child Protection Policies
  • Safeguarding Young People – Delivering Joint Action Across Children’s Social Care Services, Police, Youth Offending Teams, Health Services and Education
  • Stopping Abuse – Working in Partnership to Deal Effectively with Young Perpetrators, Address Underlying Issues and Facilitate Victim Recovery
  • Bridging the Gap – Ensuring Local Services Meet the Needs of Young Victims through Coordinated and Robust Support, Providing Access to DV Services Where Necessary
14:15 Afternoon Coffee Break
14:30 Open Floor Discussion and Debate with Panel Two
15:30 Chair's Summary and Closing Comments
15:40 Networking Reception
16:30 Close

** Please note that the programme is subject to change without notice **

Who Should Attend?

  • Head Teachers and School Governors
  • Teachers, PSHE and SRE Teachers
  • Directors of Children's Services
  • Children's Services and Families Services Officers
  • Education Providers
  • Local Education Authorities
  • Health Promotion Advisers
  • School Nurses
  • Social Workers and Social Services Officers
  • Local Safeguarding Children Boards
  • Children's Health Service Professionals
  • Teenage Pregnancy Co-ordinators
  • Young Offenders Institutes
  • Sexual Health Strategy Co-ordinators
  • Sexual Health Treatment/Advisory Services
  • Sexual Health Support and Outreach Services
  • Child and Education Psychologists
  • Family Planning Specialists
  • Looked After/Children in Care Teams
  • Drug and Alcohol Action Teams
  • Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services
  • GUM Clinics
  • Children and Youth Organisations
  • Youth Engagement Teams
  • Youth Workers
  • Domestic Violence Co-ordinators
  • Families Services Officers
  • MARACs
  • IDVAs and ISVAs
  • Child and Adolescent Mental Health Practitioners
  • Counselling Services
  • Child Psychologists
  • Social Exclusion and Neighbourhood Renewal Teams
  • Youth Workers and Youth Offending Teams
  • Community Safety Teams
  • Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships
  • Community Safety Partnerships
  • Police Service
  • Crown Prosecution Service
  • Student Welfare Advisers
  • DfE, DoH, DCMS and other Central Government Departments and Agencies
  • Equality and Diversity Practitioners
  • Third Sector Practitioners
  • Academics and Researchers


This event was held on Wednesday 24th September 2014.
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