TEENAGERS are being taught how to spot the signs of abusive relationships by a new campaign.
Treated Badly aims to show young people that abusive behaviour by a partner is not just physical, but can come in the form of controlling behaviour, emotional, financial of sexual abuse – from checking a partner’s mobile phone or spending their money without their permission to pestering them to do things they do not want to.
Organisers hope it will help educate teenagers on what is acceptable, and what is not, in a relationship, and where they can go if they feel they have been a victim of abuse.
Teenagers are being encouraged to take a “healthy relationship test” online, to identify what is acceptable and unacceptable, and there are also videos and advice on the website, www.treatedbadly.co.uk.
The campaign has been funded by Police and Crime Commissioner for Staffordshire Matthew Ellis and he attended Tuesday’s launch at Stafford College, alongside Staffordshire County Council’s community safety leader Mark Sutton and teenagers who have been involved in its development.
Laura Connaughton, a sixth former from Blessed William Howard Catholic High School, was a member of one of the focus groups. She said: “I think it is really effective. We took part in a workshop and there was a lot of debate.
“Most people think abuse is to do with hitting your partner, but if you read the (relationship test) questions it is not just that.
“It has been great to be involved in this campaign from the beginning and it has really expanded our knowledge on what abuse is. It is rewarding to see how our input is making a difference and I’ll be encouraging as many people as possible to get involved.”
Councillor Sutton said that research suggested many young people may not be aware of what behaviour may be considered abusive.
“The Treated Badly campaign is all about recognising unacceptable and harmful behaviour, and addressing these issues at an early stage, “ he said.
“This campaign aims to let all young people know what is and isn’t acceptable in a relationship, and where they can go to get help. It’s not just about victims either; we want to raise the awareness of perpetrators too, so they can take a look at their own behaviour and address it as early as possible.”
Parents and teachers can also get involved in the campaign, by visiting the Staffordshire Cares website, , which features a new area to help parents spot the warning signs and talk to their child about relationship abuse at www.staffordshirecares.info/treatedbadly.