Young people and domestic abuse spotlight

Helping professionals support young people aged 13-17 who experience domestic abuse or demonstrate harmful behaviour – part of our 2016–2019 Spotlights series that shone a light on the hidden victims of domestic abuse.

Young people experience the highest rates of domestic abuse of any age group. They may experience domestic abuse in their own intimate partner relationships or they may demonstrate harmful behaviour towards a family member.

In the third of our Spotlight series, in 2017 we focused on the stories and experiences of young people aged 13–17 and looked at how professionals can best support them.  We explored questions such as how can professionals adapt to meet the needs of young people? How does a young person’s experience of domestic abuse different to that of an adult? What are the best ways to support young people who harm without criminalising them?

I didn’t think this was helpful to me at all, it was all older women. Most of them had been referred there from social workers and had children so I felt like my problems weren’t as bad as theirs. I also couldn’t speak much and didn’t want everyone knowing in the group.

Holly, young survivor

About SafeLives’ Spotlights series

Our 2016–2019 Spotlights series shined a light on hidden victims of domestic abuse. We explored the experiences of victim groups who face additional barriers to accessing support, and can feel ‘hidden’ from services. Discover insight from survivors, practitioners, academics and other experts, alongside our own research and data.

When I was 15 I got into a relationship that would change my life... One day I was on the phone to a male friend, and my partner decided that it wasn't okay for me to do that. That was the first time he hit me. After that it kind of just becomes a blur.

Chantelle, young survivor

Facts and figures

  • Facts and figures

    of young people exposed to domestic abuse are also demonstrating harmful behaviour themselves

  • Facts and figures

    of young people exposed to domestic abuse are being directly harmed by the family member

  • Facts and figures

    of young people experiencing abuse in their intimate relationships are female

Safe Young Lives report

Read the full findings in our policy report, Safe Young Lives.

Read the report

Blogs and videos

LGBT+ young people’s experiences of domestic abuse

The Voices Unheard project was established by a group of young people from LGBT Youth Scotland. Using a peer research approach, the group sought to find out lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people’s understanding, knowledge, and experience of domestic abuse in their families and relationships.

Why education is important for understanding domestic abuse

The need for education and prevention is vital. We know how children are impacted greatly by violence that is happening in the home; according to Radford (2011) 1 in 5 children have been exposed to domestic abuse, as well as domestic abuse being a factor in 60% of Serious Case Reviews,
Play video

Messages from young survivors

We asked a group of young survivors what advice they’d give to other young people in their situation, and to the professionals supporting them.

Play video

Supporting young people in abusive relationships

This short film about young people, covers what you should consider when engaging with children and young people.

Play video

Assessing the risks that young people face

Jill Prodenchuk explains the development of the young person’s RIC, and how young people’s experiences and perceptions of risk can differ from those of adults.

Listen: Chantelle's poem

Listen: An interview with Helen Bonnick – Understanding child to parent violence

Listen: An interview with Helen Bonnick – Disability and child to parent violence

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