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  1. ITV Report

Warning about abusive behaviour in teen relationships

New figures reveal one in five older teenagers have experienced abusive behaviour in relationships in Northamptonshire.

The research by the Institute of Public Safety, Crime and Justice and the Northamptonshire Police and Crime Commissioner found a fifth of 16 to 18 year olds have been pressured into doing something they didn't want to do.

42% reported they have had partners who constantly check up on them.

Pupils are Corby Technical College took part in a special project looking at health relationships. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Year 10s pupils from Corby Technical College took part in a special project looking at relationships and told ITV News Anglia that they were pretty clued up on what is and isn't ok.

They say they think younger children need to be taught about relationships too, not just those at secondary school.

Social media can sometimes make managing relationships difficult. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Northamptonshire PCC Adam Simmons has called on the government to introduce compulsory Sex and Relationships Education following the research which shows newly criminalised behaviour is rife amongst young people.

"What we are seeing in this research is a changing of the landscape in terms of the pressures that young people are having to deal with as they grow up and the fact that many are suffering forms of mental - and at times physical - abuse while in relationships.

"We must therefore educate children to identify these types of coercive and controlling behaviours, to teach children what behaviours are not acceptable and the negative impact they can have, and strengthen the support and advice available for those who are victims of emotional abuse."

– Adam Simmons, Northamptonshire Police & Crime Commissioner
Police and other organisations are working out how to keep young people safe. Credit: ITV News Anglia

The Institute for Public Safety, Crime and Justice and Northants PCC surveyed 2,712 students aged 10 to 18 across 19 mainstream schools, including four Special Educational Needs (SEN) and Special Educational Needs and Mental Health (SENMH) schools in the county to gather the information.

  • 42% of young people have been subjected to a partner constantly checking up on them
  • 54% said that they faced jealousy issues from their boyfriend or girlfriend when spending time with friends
  • A third of young people have been made fun of by a boyfriend or girlfriend in front of other people in a way that made them feel uncomfortable
  • 21% of 16-18 year-olds (14% of 10-18 year-olds) have been pressured in to doing something they didn't want to by a partner

Click below to watch a video report by ITV News Anglia's Sarah Cooper

The consultation also revealed a worrying trend in the reluctance of young people to speak with authority figures when facing abuse within intimate relationships.

Only 5% would tell a member of school staff, 3% the police and 2% a youth worker.

The most popular form of support for young people is to tell their friends (40%), while only a quarter of people would reach out to parents (24%).