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  • Date: 09/02/2024

Honeycomb Group's domestic abuse specialist highlights unhealthy teenage relationships this Valentine's Day

This Valentine’s Day, our domestic abuse specialist Glow is raising awareness of abuse in young relationships.

According to a study of 13 to 17-year-olds by the NSPCC*, 25% of girls and 18% of boys have already reported experiencing some form of physical violence from an intimate partner. Research also revealed that one in three girls (31%) and 16% of boys reported some form of sexual abuse within their relationships.

Glow supports children and young people who have both experienced and witnessed abuse, as well as delivering their flagship relationship education programme, Relationships without Fear, in local schools. The programme educates children in schools and colleges about healthy and unhealthy relationships, as well as how to deal with a range of feelings and emotions.

To mark Valentine’s Day this year, Glow is running a social media campaign from 12-14 February to raise awareness of abuse in teenage relationships, to make sure that no one’s first Valentine’s Day is one full of fear, anxiety and dread.

Service Manager for Children and Young People, Sarah Buckley, explained: “The stats that exist, such as a quarter of teenage girls experiencing their own abusive relationships, are heartbreaking, but they’re sadly not surprising to us at Glow.

“Every single day, my team and I work with children and young people impacted by domestic abuse. Some have witnessed abuse in the home, but a growing number are finding themselves experiencing it directly in their very first relationship.

“This Valentine’s Day we want to raise awareness of this and show parents, schools and most importantly young people, that we can change the stats. Our Relationships without Fear programme exists to educate young people about unhealthy relationships, helping them to spot the red flags and encouraging them to reach out for support if they need it.”

Glow customer Beth (name changed to protect her identity) met her ex-partner when she was at school, going on to experience a decade of abuse. She said that teaching the next generation about healthy and unhealthy relationships is vital.

She shared her story: “When you are younger, you think no one is ever going to believe you, and at the time I was 16 and my abuser told me that it was his word against mine and no one would ever believe me. He was a lot older so I believed him.

“I went into a relationship blank, I found someone who said they loved me and that was that, I went with it. If I had seen the warning signs beforehand, I would never have stayed in a relationship with that person.

“Prevention is better than cure. Schools teach you maths, science and English but they never teach you about healthy relationships. If they did it would help to stop a lot of abuse and potentially save people’s lives.”

Thanks to local funding, schools in Newcastle-under-Lyme can claim an 80% discount on programmes booked and delivered before the end of the school year - limited places available.

Click here to find out more about Relationships without Fear and book now.