Violentine violence warning for young people

Partners back new campaign

A new teenage relationship abuse campaign - titled Break Free - encourages teenagers to re-think their views of acceptable violence, abuse or controlling behaviour in relationships. It directs them to places for help and advice, and aims to prevent teenagers from becoming victims and perpetrators of abusive relationships.

Artwork produced by students from the University of Bolton will be used to underpin the Break Free campaign. It's designed to highlight the fact that abusive relationships rarely begin with violence.

St Helens Council's Cabinet Member for Family Intervention and Safer Communities, Councillor Sue Murphy said: "An innocent romance can deteriorate over time into a pattern of abusive or controlling behaviour. We want young people to be able to spot the signs and know where to go for help.

"And, of course, domestic violence isn't just physical, it can be psychological, financial, emotional or sexual. But at the start of a romance none of these traits will be apparent in a potential long-term partner."

Jayne Platt, Helena Extra's Domestic Violence Operations Manager, said: "This is an invaluable campaign which is sure to make a difference in the community by helping young people to be more informed about domestic violence.

"We hope people who might be affected by domestic violence realise there is so much help and support out there and they shouldn't suffer in silence. Our Helena Extra Domestic Violence Helpline, which can be reached on 01925 220 541, is open 24 hours a day and we can provide advice to victims of domestic violence, or those who fear a friend or relative may be affected, regardless of whether they are a Helena tenant or not."

Tanya Marsh, from housing association Riverside, which is also backing the campaign, said: "Nobody should live in fear of their partner. We operate a zero tolerance policy on domestic violence in our properties. We would encourage any of our tenants who are suffering from domestic violence to contact their housing officer on 0845 111 0000."

The campaign designs will feature at youth centres, schools and colleges to highlight the fact that help is available - and include tips on how to spot the warning signs.

These include:

· Signs of abusive/controlling behaviour:
· Criticising you and putting you down
· Ignoring you or putting down your opinions
· Acting excessively jealously or possessively.
· Stopping you from doing something you want to do - or seeing your friends or family.
· Constantly checking up on you (your phone, texts, emails, facebook)
· Pressuring you into having sex
· Taking away your access to money, credit cards or your car.

For more information and support go to or contact the Independent Domestic Violence Advocate on 01744 743 200