Spectrum – Sbectrwm

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Secondary Pupils

What is abuse?

Abuse is a term used to describe when a person is being mistreated. Abuse can take different forms including disrespectful behaviour to physical harm. A person who abuses is a bully. Abuse can happen at home or in work and it is deliberate. It is often carried out by a well-known person such as a family member. Abuse is not acceptable especially when the victim is unable to protect themselves.

There are several forms of abuse including Domestic Abuse. When abuse happens within a family, between two adults over the age of 16, it is known as Domestic Abuse.

The cross-government definition of domestic violence and abuse (2013) is:
any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. The abuse can encompass, but is not limited to:

  • psychological
  • physical
  • sexual
  • financial
  • emotional

POWER AND CONTROL

Physical

Slapping
Hitting
Grabbing

Emotional

Name Calling
Ignoring
Shouting

Psychological

Manipulation
Lying
Deceiving

Financial

Denying access to money
Not allowed to work

Sexual Abuse

Inappropriate touching
Rape
Forced nudity

Just like bullies, abusive behaviour is used by a person to gain Power and Control over others.

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Information and advice for Young people on Healthy Relationships

Being in a partner Relationship can be really exciting. Getting to know someone, hanging out and feeling happy just thinking about them. But it can also be confusing especially if you really like someone but they do things you’re not comfortable with.

Different people define relationships in different ways. But in order for a relationship to be healthy, it needs a few key ingredients:

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Good Communication

The first step to building a relationship is making sure you both understand each other’s needs and expectations. If something is bothering you, it’s best to talk about it instead of holding it in.

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Mutual Respect

Your partners’ wishes and feelings have value and so do yours.

Mutual respect is about understanding that other people are different to you and accepting that others have the right to do and say what they want as long as nobody else is harmed. When there is respect in a relationship, both people feel free to be themselves and they feel more trusting of each other.

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Compromise

Disagreements are a natural part of a healthy relationship but it’s important that you find a way to compromise if you disagree on something, try to solve conflicts in a fair and rational way.

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Support

Offer reassurance and encouragement to each other, also let your partner know when you need support. Healthy relationships are about building each other up, not putting each other down.

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Privacy

Just because you’re in a relationship doesn’t mean you have to share everything and constantly be together, healthy relationships require space.

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Healthy boundaries

Creating boundaries is a good way to keep your relationship healthy and secure. By setting boundaries together you can both have a deeper understanding of the type or relationship you and your partner want. Boundaries are not meant to make you feel trapped or like you’re ‘walking on eggshells’. Creating boundaries is not a sign of secrecy or distrust – it’s an expression of what makes you feel comfortable and what you would like or not like to happen within the relationship.

Remember

  • You are important
  • You don’t have to match up to anyone’s standards except your own
  • You have the right to express your racial or cultural beliefs
  • You have the right to have your own feelings, opinions and friends
  • You deserve love and respect

Safety Plan

A safety plan can help if someone you are or were seeing behaves in a way that makes you feel scared, worried, nervous, controlled or isolated. Your safety plan is just about you and your situation and will help you to think about your safety.

You should only fill in your safety plan when you are feeling calm and in control. It is hard to think clearly about the actions you need to take when you are feeling scared or threatened.

When you create your safety plan, think about who you can get support from – friends, family, a teacher, school nurse or support worker. It is important to have at least one adult that you trust help you with completing your plan, so they can help support you in thinking about your safety.

When creating your safety plan, you need to think about your safety for every part of your life:

  • At home
  • At school
  • When you are out and about
  • In the evening or at the weekend
  • When you are online

Always keep your safety plan safe and never leave it where it could be found by your abuser. Share your safety plan with a trusted friend or family member and also with trusted agency workers you are in contact with. Link to safety plan

Relationship scenarios

Read through the scenarios below. How would you respond to these? Look at the suggested advice in the answers below each one.

1

My name is Sara and I am 13. I am very frightened. My step dad was just kicking at the front door and saying you are going to regret this. Mum just broke up with him two days ago and he moved out yesterday. He didn’t hit her today, but he has thrown things in the past.

He makes fun of her when we all go out with his friends and calls her names that make her feel stupid. She has never reported this to anyone. When he moved out yesterday, he said ‘you aren’t going to get away with this.’ He’s gone now but I’m so scared that he will come back like last time

Suggested advice

Remember this is NOT your fault and you and your Mum should not have to feel like this. If you are ever afraid or frightened always call the Police on 999 as you are scared your step dad will return like before.

When an adult deliberately threatens another adult and makes them feel stupid, this is called Psychological Abuse. You can ring ChildLine on 0800 1111. There is always someone who will listen to your worries.

2

I am 8 and my name is Jake. I want help because my mummies are fighting”. Mum tells me to go upstairs and then I can hear my other Mummy crying. I saw marks on her arms and her face. It happens a lot and I feel scared and sad.

Suggested advice

Lots of people argue sometimes. When it happens a lot and it’s making you feel worried about it, you should speak to another adult, such as your teacher at school or your grandparents. You should not feel scared and sad all of the time you can also phone this number: ChildLine 0800 1111 and look at this website http://echothreshold-das.org.uk/6-11-years-old/ you don’t have to give your name but they will listen to you and your worries. Always remember this is not your fault.

3

I am 16 years old, about to sit my GCSE’S, but my parents were struggling with money and kept arguing at home. I’ve met Tom who is in college and he makes me feel really special. He bought me lots of nice things to begin with and made me feel special. He would text me all of the time and soon wanted me to spend all of my time with him. This meant I would see my friends and family less but I didn’t mind. They were arguing anyway and I enjoyed spending time with Tom.

After a while he asked me to move in with him. He took care of the finances because, as he said ‘I make the money, I’ll take care of the money side’. This was true. So, I put the money I had in to a joint bank account and he looked after the card. He would give me money for certain things but then when I asked for money, he said he didn’t know where the card was or make excuses. This make me feel very uncomfortable and scared. My friend said to me this is Domestic Abuse but how can it be? He is nice to me most of the time what

Suggested advice

Your friend is right. This is Domestic Abuse. You don’t have any control over your money. Denying access to money is an example of Financial Abuse. Your boyfriend is doing this to gain power and control over you. You shouldn’t feel scared in a healthy relationship.

Go with a friend and speak to a trusted adult. There are also lots of useful websites and helplines you can contact, including livefree.org.uk 0808 80 10 800 and All Wales Domestic Abuse & Sexual Violence Helpline.

4

I am 16 and in a relationship. But I am finding it hard at the moment. My girlfriend doesn’t like me texting other people. She accuses me of flirting with other girls and things like that – so it’s just easier to stay in the house. I don’t see my friends or even my mum or brother that much anymore. She often swears at me or calls me names which is weird because she was so caring at the start. I haven’t told anyone because this doesn’t happen to boys.

Suggested advice

From what you’ve described, it sounds highly likely you are experiencing domestic abuse. Not all domestic abuse is physical – it can be purely emotional. You are describing your girlfriend as being jealous, possessive and controlling. Talk to your friends and family about this.

This is an example of Domestic Abuse. It can happen to anyone, not just women. You can find lots of helpful information on this website: http://www.braveeip.org.uk/wpcontent/uploads/2016/04/CalanDVSBooklet.pdf

5

I am 17 and this is my first serious relationship. My boyfriend and I began a sexual relationship quite soon as I felt this was what I was meant to do as his girlfriend. Things have changed between us though and my boyfriend has begun telling me what to do.

When it came to having sex, I started to make excuses so I didn’t have to have sex, but he keeps saying that I am entitled to do it. I am not really sure what he means but I don’t think this should happen in a relationship.

Suggested advice

Nobody should be made to do something they don’t want to do. Pressuring someone in to sex is an example of sexual abuse. When you consent to sex, it is done without any pressure involved. Any sort of sexual activity without consent is illegal.

Take the following steps: talk to your partner and a friend you trust to get some advice. If you are not listened to by your partner, plan an exit strategy e.g. go to the toilet and ask a friend to ring you.

If you are feel in danger in any way, you need to get away from this situation as soon as possible. Remember, you can phone ChildLine on 0800 1111 and go to www.bishuk.com for help and advice.

Myths and facts surrounding relationships and domestic abuse.

1
Lots of people argue but in a healthy relationship, couples never argue.

People argue about different things in a relationship. People argue even when they are in a happy and loving relationship. However, when there are constant arguments, it becomes an unhealthy relationship. This can lead to domestic abuse. Arguing and abuse are two different things. Domestic abuse is when there is violence in, either a physical, sexual, emotional or psychological way that is used  to control another person.

2
Domestic abuse always includes physical violence.

Domestic abuse does not always include physical violence. Domestic abuse can be incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening, and violent behaviour, including sexual violence, by a partner or ex-partner. These include: psychological and/or emotional abuse; sexual abuse; financial abuse.

3
Females can be abusive and abuse can happen in same-sex relationships. However, it is more common for males to abuse their female partners.

Around 95% of victims that are known are females abused by their male partners.

4
Once you find the right person, you will be consistently happy and feel complete.

While being in a relationship with someone who is committed and caring will bring happiness, there will be times of unhappiness and frustration. No one can give you an identity, a sense of worth, or a purpose – you must gain these qualities yourself.

5
Jealousy is a sign of love. Partners who are not jealous do not care.

Jealousy is not an indicator of a person’s love for another. In a healthy relationship, neither partner does things to make the other jealous nor does a person feel jealous for no reason! Ask yourself this question: Why is your partner jealous? When one shows jealousy or is suspicious abotu what a partner does, this is not a sign of a healthy relationship – nor a sign of love.

6
People who are abused often blame themselves for their abuse.

Most people blame themselves for causing the violence. No one is to blame for another person’s abuse.

7
If a person is being abused then it is easy to just leave.

It is not always easy to leave the relationship. Often, women who leave have a greater chance of being hurt by their abuser.

8
A pregnant women is at a greater risk of physical abuse.

around one – third of pregnant wpomen are abused. Physical abuse can begin or escalate during pregnancy.

9
People abuse their partners because they can't control their anger. Often, alcohol and drugs make them violent.

When someone abuses a partner, they do it to gain power and control over them by using threats and violence. The person wants to be in control. Many people are violent when sober. Both may be the trigger for a particular attack, but they are not the underlying cause of domestic abuse.

10
As long as the children do not see it, they are not impacted by conflict.

If part of the family are having difficulty, the other part will see and feel the effects of it. This can have a negative effect on how children feel and behave, leading to feelings of depression, yelling, and/or acting out.

Children and young people witness a high number of domestic incidents at home, around 60-80% of domestic incidents.

Relationship questionnaire

Finding Help

Links to educational videos