Violence and abuse in teen relationships

Violence suffered in teenage relationships often occurs alongside other forms of abuse. This is the suggestion of Sherry Hamby, a Research Associate Professor at Sewanee, the University of the South, who told the American Psychological Association that such actions do not "spring from nowhere".

Dr Hamby noted both those who instigate such behaviour and those who are vulnerable to it are often individuals who have been previously victimised themselves.

According to Dr Hamby, young people who expect their partners to meet all of their social and emotional needs are some of the most dangerous youths, with jealousy highlighted as a major warning sign.

Other factors - such as monitoring and controlling behaviours - need to also be looked out for, Dr Hamby explained, adding: "If you have to send your boyfriend a picture from your phone to prove that you are really at your grandmother's house, that's a problem."

Dr Victoria Tischler, Chartered Psychologist, commented: "This research illustrates the dangers of early exposure to violence. My research with mothers escaping domestic violence suggested that many had witnessed similar abuse involving their parents during childhood and that their own children had witnessed violent attacks in the home.

"Women often make multiple attempts to leave violent partners meaning that their children are at risk of repeated exposure to abusive and dysfunctional relationships. Children and adolescents may internalise such models, placing future partners at risk.

"Such exposure is also associated with behavioural and mental health problems which may persist into adulthood if not addressed early. It families are itinerant, as many who have experienced violence are, they face additional barriers in accessing interventions as many services require a stable address before allocating resources.

"Health, educational and social care providers should be vigilant to behavioural problems in childhood and adolescence to ensure that early intervention is provided in order to interrupt perpetuating cycles of abusive relationships."