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The following story is one of several accounts shared with us by a group of young people; all have experienced domestic abuse and have been supported by the Ypvas working at the Young People Violence Advisor (Ypva) Service in South Tyneside. They have shared their individual stories to raise awareness of domestic abuse in the hope that victims and services will be inspired to make change. For an audio version of this blog, visit our Soundcloud profile or scroll to the bottom of the page. 

*Names have been changed to protect identities

I was 17 when I met him at a house party.  He was older than me, 24.  I was full of drink and he was adamant I had to stay at his.  We started to meet each other and within a couple of weeks he was very controlling, aggressive and demeaning.  As a result, I felt very low and very restricted in who I could talk to.  I knew it was wrong because when I was younger I’d seen different violence with my mam being controlled and beaten up off her boyfriend, but at that time I was confused, the Social Worker said it wasn’t safe for me to live with my mam and I went to live in a Children’s Home. 

I continued meeting him and my friends could see I was not happy, she told me to delete his number, I tried but he threatened to go to the door where we were and take the door down.  He said I was with other lads.  He told me to get to his and I went because I was scared, but also because I was scared he would tell my mam I was seeing him.  He said my mam would put me back into care for being with him. This went on for a couple of months, during which time the abuse was getting worse. 

One day I returned home full of bruises on my face.  My mam asked if I’d been in a fight and I broke down and told her everything. My mam took action; she deleted him off my Facebook and Instagram.  Whilst the harassment did stop for a while, I struggled to go out on my own.  I really regretted the choices I had made that night when I stayed at his; I should have just gone home.  Looking back, I was very low and still restricted on where I could go even after getting out of the relationship. 

It wasn’t long before I started getting threats off his mates and my mam convinced me to ring the Police. I was scared as I thought the abuse would get worse. The Police told me he was very dangerous, and that they would protect me, but I was still scared.  The Police fitted a panic alarm and a letter box jammer in my home and I felt a little bit safer.  The Police also told me that I should talk to Social Services, but because I had been in care before, I was scared and said no.  The Police said they understood, they told me another service could help and referred me to the YPVA Service. 

Claire came out to talk to me and I felt a bit of relief that I would have someone to talk to; I didn’t want to talk to my mam because I didn’t want to stress her out.  I feel since doing the work with the YPVA Service that I have a bit closure, it’s like I have a weight off my shoulders.   I feel like I talk about the abuse more and most importantly I feel safe and confident.  I suppose although I knew the signs from seeing my mam go through abuse, the signs were different for me and more importantly I didn’t think it would happen to me.  Now though I feel like the healthy relationship programme has helped me a lot more to understand the difference between a healthy and unhealthy relationship and I would tell anyone to get out while you can, there is always help and there is always a better future.

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Keep an eye on our Spotlight page for more information and resources around supporting young people experiencing domestic abuse.