Dorset pupils given training in bid to prevent teenage domestic abuse
The work being carried out in Dorset schools to tackle teenage domestic abuse is in the spotlight as Dorset Safeguarding Children Week gets underway.
In an NSPCC survey of teachers and lecturers released last week, 26 per cent of respondents said they had been asked for help by a pupil experiencing relationship abuse (the survey results can be found here).
The Respect Yourself programme, the Safer Relationships programme, and the Safe DATE workshop were developed to raise awareness of this important issue and help young people avoid abusive relationships.
More than 900 year-10 pupils (aged 14 and 15) in Dorset have taken part in the Respect Yourself programme – developed and delivered by the Safe Schools and Communities Team.
The programme challenges stereotypes and highlights the early warning signs of abuse. It covers a range of issues including consensual sex in relationships and male victims of domestic abuse.
The young people are also given contact details for local and national domestic abuse services, and the sessions are supported by a specialist worker from Bournemouth Churches Housing Association (BCHA), who can follow up any concerns raised by the pupils.
Rachael Caples, Safe Schools and Communities Officer, said: “The Respect Yourself programme is aimed at challenging young people’s perceptions of abusive relationships and associated stereotypes.
“It looks at not only educating our next generation of potential victims or offenders but also friends, relatives, future employers and employees and professionals – providing them with the skills to support and guide victims of abuse and empowering young people to recognise behaviours and build happy, fulfilled and respectful relationships.”
Over the past three years, more than 500 year-six pupils from seven schools across Bournemouth and Poole have taken part in the Safer Relationships programme, delivered by two local domestic abuse charities – The Butterfly Foundation and Vita Nova.
The pupils are taught how to identify safe and unsafe behaviour and spot early warning signs of abuse. The course also looks at alternatives to violence, strategies for dealing with violence and the impact of drug and alcohol abuse on relationships.
The Butterfly Foundation also runs a 12-week Healthy Relationship programme for teenagers, in partnership with Sussed Youth Advice Centre in Bournemouth, and has recently received a grant to roll out their work into secondary schools.
Julie Johns, of The Butterfly Foundation, said: “The need for preventative programmes into schools is a priority if we want to prevent children and young people repeating the cycle of abuse.”
The Safe DATE (Domestic Abuse Training and Education) workshop was developed by Safe Partnership – a national domestic abuse charity based in Dorset – and is delivered to pupils in years 7 – 13.
The hour-long interactive sessions contain real-life case studies and help the pupils recognise the signs of teenage partner abuse and develop healthy relationships. The workshop is offered free of charge to every school in the UK.
The Safer Poole Partnership, Dorset Police, Borough of Poole, Dorset County Council and Bournemouth Borough Council have also joined forces in a year-long campaign to raise awareness of domestic abuse. For more information, visit:www.dorsetforyou.com/dvahelp.
If you are experiencing domestic abuse, or you know someone who is, the following organisations can help you:
National Support for Victims:
National DV Helpline (24 hour) 0808 2000247
National Men’s Advice Line (for male victims) 0808 8010327
Local Support for victims
Bournemouth Outreach Service 01202 547641
Poole Outreach Service 01202 748488
You First (Dorset County Outreach) 0800 0325204
Childline (for children) 0800 1111
For a full list of organisations that provide support to victims of domestic abuse, visit: www.dorsetforyou.com/dvahelp.
Issued: 19 November 2013