DATING VIOLENCE AND YOUNG PEOPLE
Young people may experience domestic violence in their own dating relationships. This is dating violence. Dating violence is not an argument or a disagreement but a pattern of abusive behaviour used by one person to try to gain power and control over another person. Dating violence is serious. It happens to people of all ages, between different sex and same sex couples and to people of all cultures, race or religions and socio-economic backgrounds. Dating violence is confusing and frightening at any age but for young people just starting it can be difficult and confusing.
Dating violence includes verbal abuse such as name-calling and insults and physical violence including hitting, punching and strangling. It can include emotional abuse such as isolating the victim or controlling which friends she sees or where she goes. Sexual abuse is forcing any unwanted sexual contact. Economic abuse is taking her money or making her pay all the time. Dating violence should be taken seriously as it can cause serious injuries and, in extreme cases, even death.
The increase in the use of technology by young people in recent years has also seen a rise in technology, e.g. mobile phones, becoming a common tool of abusers. Unfortunately technology makes it easier for an abuser to carry out their abusive behaviour as they can access their victim anytime, day or night. Abusers send text messages, instant messages or keep track of their victim through social networking sites such as Facebook or Twitter. Technological abuse may go unnoticed by family and friends and unless someone reads the text message or overhears a conversation they may never know.
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