Issue 8 | 15th September 2023
Hello and welcome to your L&D Newsletter.
Happy Friday. You have made it through the week and now the weekend is yours to enjoy!! The BISP has evolved, we are now known as the BSP, we have a new website and if you click on the BSP logo at the top of this newsletter you will be taken to it. Please have a look. Also it is important to note that our email address has changed it is now email@example.com. If you would like anything added to the newsletter then please do let us know,
In this weeks newsletter we are going to be taking a look at domestic abuse in young people relationships. The government definition of domestic violence and abuse changed in 2013 to include young people aged 16 and 17, extending the definition increased awareness that young people in this age group experience domestic violence and abuse, and encouraged more young people to come forward and access support. However, younger children can also be affected by teenage relationship abuse.
Dates for your diary
- 25th to 29th September 2023 - ICON Week
- 16th October 2023 - Motivational Interview Training
Please note the date for the Complex Safeguarding Event will be changed. Keep your eyes out for more on this…
Domestic Abuse in young peoples relationships
What do we mean by teenage relationship abuse?
According to research by Savelives many of the young people who experience relationship abuse have complex needs, often do not live in a safe environment and are from troubled families. From the research sample the 54% who lived with parents or step-parents were also exposed to additional risks through their parents, including domestic abuse, mental ill health or substance misuse, and anti-social behaviour.
Research indicates that young people are often worryingly dismissive of relationship abuse than adults and often see it as ‘part and parcel’ of having a partner. They will also often justify the abuse with the actions of the victim (for example because the victim as unfaithful). SafeLives research finds that 67% of teenagers receiving adult domestic violence services are experiencing strangulation (often promoted in porn and frequently copied without the partner’s consent), rape, broken bones and stalking (now an offence under the Stalking Protection Action 2019 and can be significantly more violent with young people).
Practitioners should avoid making the assumption that age automatically makes a young person more resilient and less likely to suffer harm. Practitioners should also be aware of the possible long term impact of interpersonal violence and abuse. All children and young people under the age of 18 years experiencing violence or abuse are likely to be at risk of significant harm and usual safeguarding procedures apply.
“And he raised his fist to hit me and I was stood there and I was thinking, I, and at one point I know it sounds stupid but I wanted him to, because I felt, I felt as if I deserved it, but I was, I was scared’’.
(Teenage relationship abuse victim-WOMANKIND research 2007).
Which young people are affected by Relationship Abuse?
Relationship Abuse can any affect any young people regardless of age, gender identification, sexual orientation, race, religion or disability. However some young people are more vulnerable to relationship Abuse victimization and instigation including those who:
- have a history of running away from home or care
- are in care or are care leavers
- have disengaged from education, employment or training
- are sexually exploited
- are users of drugs and alcohol
- have a history of domestic abuse in their families
- young people involved in gangs, offending or anti-social behaviour
- young people who live independently, with limited or no support
- were neglected in childhood or received punitive parenting
- young parents or pregnant young people
What are examples of teenage relationship abuse and what are the signs? Examples of IPVA in young people’s relationships include: physical - throwing objects, hitting, slapping, and pulling hair; sexual - making someone do sexual acts they don’t want to; emotional - telling someone how to dress, how to do make up, putting pressure on them to send nude photos (guide); financial - controlling someone’s money, taking their benefits, allowance or wages; and abuse through technology - harassing or stalking someone through the internet or phone such as tracking their location or sharing pictures of them online without their consent.
Practitioners need to recognise signs which indicate emotional and behavioural changes in young people and may indicate IPVA such as: becoming more self-critical – for example, having no self-belief in how they look , dress or act; giving up their own opinions – thinking their partner is always right; problems eating or sleeping or having headaches; seeming to be scared of their partner’s reactions; becoming more isolated - seeing less of their families and friends and stopping going to school or college; and physical signs of harm such as bruising and scratches. Practitioners should look out for signs of coercive control, for post-relationship violence and for child sexual exploitation.
“You know K – if she calls me names I’ll smack her around the cheek… I’d just grab her and I’d punch her and make them pay for it. I can’t help it. It’s not me – my hand just goes, boom. My hands are, like, alive”.
(Young man, Year 7, WOMANKIND research 2007).
Why is teenage relationship abuse a hidden problem?
Teenagers experience as much relationship abuse as adults. Several independent studies have shown that 40% of teenagers are in abusive dating relationships. Domestic violence is still a ‘hidden’ issue in our society; and it is even more so for teenagers. This is exacerbated by the fact that adolescents can be more accepting of, and dismissive about, this form of behaviour than adults.
The lack of awareness around this issue can be explained, to some extent, by the following:
- Teenage romantic relationships can often be short-lived but they are experienced as intensely as adult relationships. Unfortunately, parents and professionals do not always take these relationships seriously enough
- Adolescents can be more susceptible to gender-role stereotypes and can be confused about what their role is within society
- Because of a lack of experience in constructing respectful relationships and because of their peer group norms it can be difficult for teenagers to judge their partner’s behaviour as being abusive
- Teenage relationship abuse is influenced by how teenagers look at themselves and others. This can be influenced by the media and its portrayal of how we should look and behave
- First relationships are daunting enough, yet this can be even more difficult if someone is entering into a same-sex relationship and does not feel ready to tell people yet
- If the young person attends the same school, college, youth club as their abuser, this can increase their sense of fear and entrapment.
Some Key issues to be aware of…
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) young people experience relationship abuse at similar rates as heterosexual young people and, for some, it can be an increased risk factor. LGBT young people can face additional barriers to identifying abuse and seeking help. They may be concerned about revealing their sexual orientation; fearful of homophobic reactions from family, friends and professionals, and unaware of specialist support services.
The UK has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in Western Europe. Being pregnant is a high-risk time for the onset or escalation of abuse as the prevalence of abuse is higher among young mothers than other young women. In fact, young women who are being abused are 4-6 times more likely than their non-abused peers to become pregnant
Domestic violence at home
At least 750,000 children a year witness domestic violence at home.2 Discussing teenage relationship abuse may raise issues for young people who have experienced neglect and / or witnessed domestic violence at home. It is important to be aware of this and to deal with it as you would any other child protection issue.
Impact on education
“Relationship abuse can have a negative impact on how safe young people feel in school - this will impact on their participation, achievement and education.”
Acceptance of violence against women and girls
36% of people in a Home Office survey believed that a woman should be held wholly or partly responsible for being sexually assaulted or raped if she was drunk. These beliefs are wrong; a woman is never responsible for experiencing sexual assault. Some staff will hold these damaging views and it is important that they are challenged. Staff must not collude with abuse and perpetuate harmful attitudes. Staff may lack the skills and confidence to handle the subject and may benefit from relevant continuing professional development, for example, on gender equality.
There may be staff in the school that have experienced or are experiencing relationship abuse themselves. Discussing relationship abuse may therefore raise issues amongst staff so it is vital therefore to provide appropriate support. Schools should have an up-to-date policy and procedure on staff experiencing domestic violence. Taking time to have whole-school training will support staff in the long-term.
What should practitioners do?
Young people are more likely to disclose abuse where they have a trusting and open relationship with a worker. Practitioners should have ongoing conversations about what a healthy relationship looks like. Where abuse is disclosed or a practitioner identifies it is happening, it should be discussed with the young person away from the young person causing harm. If it appears that a young person is being harmed in this way, the practitioner should discuss the concerns with their agency safeguarding lead, and with the MARAC Coordinator (see below). A recommendation may be to refer the case to the Daily Domestic Violence Meeting. This may result in a referral to Children’s Social Work Service.
Where the young person under the age of 18 is identified at risk of significant harm, a contact should be made to Duty and Advice Team who will provide advice on the next course of action including whether a referral to Children’s Social Work Service is needed and if there might be a need for the young person to become subject to a child protection plan. If a young person causing harm is displaying harmful sexual behaviours, contact should be made with Duty and Advice Team. In addition, specialist trained domestic violence practitioners such as Independent Domestic Violence Advocates could develop safety plans with young people to inform their overall plan (Early Help plan, Child in Need plan, Child Protection plan, Children looked after care plan or Pathway plan). Safety plans focus on risks the young person is facing, their physical and emotional needs and equipping them to make choices that may keep them from serious harm. Safe Lives - Safety plan for young people.
Further advice and guidance
- If it is believed that a persom under 18 is experiencing relationship abuse you should Telephone the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub on 0161 253 5678 (outside normal office hours 0161 253 6606) or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- In an emergency dial 999
- Greater Manchester Police have a specialist department with trained domestic violence and abuse officers who can help. They can be contacted on 0161 856 8064.
- Find out more about a range of local support services The Bury Directory - Domestic abuse
A majority of young people either told a friend or no-one about the violence; only a minority informed an adult.
The BSP is looking into a recent increase in the incidence of abusive head trauma in infants. All child facing services must complete this ICON training. You can find a short (30 minutes) online training here: ICON - eLearning. Use username ICON and Password ICONPORTAL20 to access. Anyone undertaking the training is asked to notify the BSP by e-mailing email@example.com.
A half-day session the Home Fire Safety Assessment (HFSA) Training Plus is delivered at the Safety Centre in Bury. It provides the same learning as option one but also provides learners with an immersive input on fire safety in the home, including the five main causes of fire, bedtime routines and escape planning. This is delivered in a mock home environment at the Safety Centre. Lunch is provided. View the available training dates and book a place on a session at EventBrite - Home Fire Safety Assessment (HFSA) Partner face to face training.
Domestic abuse and older people awareness session - 27 September 2023 at the Elizabethan Suite. Join us for this awareness training with round table conversations, refreshments provided. To book your place contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
ICON Week 2023
The third annual ICON week (25 to 29 September 2023) is here to raise awareness of infant crying and how to cope to support parents/carers and prevent serious injury, illness and even death of young babies as a result of Abusive Head Trauma that happens when someone shakes a baby.
ICON is a programme adopted by health and social care organisations in the UK to provide information about infant crying, including how to cope, support parents/carers, and reduce stress.
This year’s ICON Week is once again focussing on sharing ideas and best practices. Many webinars are taking place throughout the week and are open to everyone. For more information and joining instructions, please visit ICON - ICON Week 2023.
Complex safeguarding event
Please note date change. This will no longer be running on the 11th October 2023. Please keep an eye out for further communication on this.
Motivational Interview Training
This takes place on 16th October 2023. Please complete the online form to book:
In the news...
A quick round up of some safeguarding related stories that may interest you and help inform your practice. If you have any suggestions for articles to be published in this newsletter then email email@example.com
Sharing information and child protection
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has published new guidance on data protection when sharing information to safeguard children. The guidance is aimed at professionals involved in child safeguarding and sets out steps around: being clear about data protection; identifying objectives for sharing information; and following the data protection principles.
Read the guidance: ICO - 10 step guide to sharing information to safeguard children.
Child sexual abuse material
The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) has raised concerns around child sexual abuse material (CSAM) and the use of artificial intelligence software by sex offenders. The IWF has also shared new data which shows CSAM hosted in the EU has increased by 26% so far this year compared to the same period last year.
Read the Guardian news story: The Guardian - Paedophiles using open source AI to create child sexual abuse content, says watchdog.
Child sexual abuse
The National Police Chief’s Council (NPCC) has launched a four-week campaign to raise awareness of the Child Sexual Abuse Review Panel (CSARP). The Panel supports individuals in England and Wales who reported allegations of child sexual offences which were then marked ‘no further action’ before 5 June 2013. The campaign aims to reach people who have experienced child sexual abuse who may benefit from contacting the CSARP.
Find out more: Hydrant Programme - Child Sexual Abuse Review Panel.
GMFRS smoking campaign
Smoking is one of the top causes of accidental fires in the home, and the top cause of accidental fire deaths in the home in Greater Manchester. GMFRS are launching a new campaign which aims to reduce smoking-related fires, injuries and deaths by tackling risks such as not putting cigarettes out properly and falling asleep with a cigarette still burning.
See: Manchester Fire - Smoking and fire safety for more on this.
And for some top tips see: Make Smoking History.
Article discussing challenges around identifying neglect and approaches for practitioners working with children experiencing neglect in the UK. The article explores the reflective discussion approach and looks at how engaging in reflection can assist professionals.
Take a break…
Take 10 minutes or so to learn something new…
This is a really interesting and impactful Podcast at ACAMH - Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) – Understanding the Diagnosis - ACAMH.
Crackdown on harmful social media content agreed - OBBC - Online Safety Bill: Crackdown on harmful social media content agreed.
Worth a read - Wait Until 8th - Psychiatrist Warns Parents about Smartphones.
The Bury Children’s Partnership weekly e-mail provides local, regional and national updates, resources and free training opportunities to help you support children, young people and families who you work with. You can find the latest edition here: Bury Council - Children's Partnership weekly information.