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Many of the young people who experience relationship abuse have complex needs, often do not live in a safe environment and are from troubled families, early findings from the Young People's Programme show. Anna Williams, our Research Analyst for the programme, explains more:

Young People's Violence Advisors (YPVAs) and other practitioners have been collecting data for the last six months to learn more about the young people they work with and how their support has helped make them safer.

Who are YPVAs supporting?

Data collected on nearly 130 young people supported by YPVAs and other practitioners showed the young people ranged in age from 13 to 20 years old, with the largest proportion aged 17 (36%). Most were white British females and more than a third (39%) were not in education, employment or training. One in five (20%) had children of their own and 9% were pregnant.

For the majority (83%) of the young people, intimate partner violence in their own relationship was the primary reason for the referral to the YPVA or another support practitioner. Other reasons for referral were child sexual exploitation, young person who harms others, domestic abuse within the family home and ‘honour'-based violence.

What are they experiencing?

This early data shows these young people to be extremely vulnerable. Most of them have experienced multiple types of relationship abuse, both currently and in the past. More than half of young people were currently experiencing physical abuse, harassment and stalking, jealous and controlling behaviours or emotional abuse and one in five were current victims of sexual abuse. Sexual abuse was as prevalent as amongst adult IDVA clients.

The analysis also showed that many of the young people do not live in a safe environment and are from troubled families. Of the 54% who lived with parents or step-parents, the majority were also exposed to additional risks through their parents, including domestic abuse, mental ill health or substance misuse, and anti-social behaviour.

What support are they receiving?

The most common areas of support provided by practitioners related to wellbeing, safety planning, criminal and civil justice, and health. The 62 cases from the sample which reached case closure in this period showed considerable reductions in risk and abuse, along with improvements in safety and wellbeing. The majority of these young people reported that they were not experiencing any abuse at the point of case closure and caseworkers recorded that there was a reduction in risk for 89% of the young people supported.

Sally Steadman-South, Young People's Programme Manager, comments: “It is really encouraging to see that YPVAs are reaching the most vulnerable young people who are experiencing interpersonal abuse and by doing so, they are making an impact on improving the young people's safety, health and wellbeing. We are still looking for YPVAs and other practitioners to join this national evaluation programme in the hope that we can continue to shine a light on the abuse that young people are experiencing. This will help us demonstrate how vital it is to commission good quality local services to support young people.”

** Data presented above provides an early look at the outcomes that can be achieved for young people experiencing domestic abuse following support from Young People's Violence Advisors and other practitioners. These conclusions are based on early data from 127 Case Engagement Forms and 62 Case Closure Forms submitted for young people supported in the six months to 1st July 2014.**