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Curbing intimate partner abuse among teenagers

13 June 2017

Agencies developing interventions to prevent teenage intimate partner abuse need to focus more on targeting the causes of coercive control.

That is the suggestion of research being presented today by Kerry Manning from Nottingham Trent University to the annual conference of our Division of Forensic Psychology in Bristol.

The two researchers surveyed 265 young people of both sexes aged between 11 and 17 who attended the same secondary school in Cambridgeshire. A range of established psychological measures were used, along with researcher generated questions about teenage experiences of abuse and exposure to social media and gaming.

The results showed that coercive control is a significant problem among young people, with incidences being reported far more than incidences of physical violence. Of particular interest is that, contrary to the literature on adult relationships, girls are more likely to engage in coercive controlling behaviour than boys.

Kerry Manning said:

“In December 2015, coercive control was recognised by UK law as a criminal offence. Our findings suggest that this is a real problem amongst teenagers and that interventions for young people need to be paying particular attention to coercive control, rather than focusing purely on addressing violence.”

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