Teenage domestic abuse is at the centre of a campaign currently underway in Dorset.
The campaign wants teenagers to come forward to put a stop to violence.
Local agencies – including Dorset Police and all of Dorset’s local authorities and community safety partnerships – are using bus advertising, a poster campaign and awareness events to reach teenagers at risk of becoming victims or perpetrators of domestic abuse.
Youth workers in Poole have also taken part in training to help them spot the signs.
Research carried out by the NSPCC in 2009 showed that 25 per cent of girls and 18 per cent of boys aged between 13-17 in the UK had experienced physical domestic violence, with even greater numbers reporting sexual or emotional abuse.
The official definition of domestic abuse was extended earlier this year to include 16- and 17-year olds, although many services for victims in Dorset were already open to this age group.
Councillor Judy Butt, Borough of Poole’s Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Public Engagement and Participation and Chair of the Safer Poole Partnership Board, said: “There is no shame in reporting domestic abuse. It is not your fault and you should not have to put up with it. There are many organisations that are there to help you but you need to take the first step and contact them.”
Dorset Police are supportive of the campaign. Detective Superintendent Andy Clowser, Head of Public Protection at Dorset Police, said: “Domestic violence can affect people of all ages and the recent change in the definition has been changed to better reflect the fact that there are increasing numbers of young people affected by abuse who need help and protection from those who commit these offences.”
He also said the police work extremely hard with their partners to support victims of domestic abuse and to bring those responsible to justice.
He said: “It is really important that victims know there is a wide range of support available to them, not just through the police but through organisations that include the local authorities and a number of charities.
DS Clowser has warned offenders: “We will seek you out and you will be held accountable for your actions.”
Councillor Nicola Greene, Deputy Leader of Bournemouth Council, said: “It’s important that young people are made aware of the risks of becoming a victim of domestic abuse or even becoming a perpetrator and where they can seek help if they need it.”
DS Clowser said: “I would strongly encourage anyone suffering from domestic abuse to report it”.