Violence and abuse in young people's intimate relationships: Interface of gender, prevalence, impact and implications for prevention

Barter, Christine Anne orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-5682-5333 (2017) Violence and abuse in young people's intimate relationships: Interface of gender, prevalence, impact and implications for prevention. In: Eliminating Gender-Based Violence. Routledge. ISBN 9781138924338

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This chapter outlines the issue of interpersonal violence and abuse (IPVA), including controlling behaviours, in the intimate relationships of young people aged 13 to 17 years-old. Findings from three studies, undertaken by the author alongside colleagues, are used to demonstrate the prevalence and impact of IPVA in young relationships, including some exploration of young people’s own narratives and understandings. Two of the studies (Barter et al; 2009, Wood et al 2010) explored physical, sexual and emotional forms of IPVA in the UK. The third study (Barter et al 2015) ‘Safeguarding Teenage Intimate Relationships’, known as ‘STIR’, addressed the ways in which new technologies were used in young people’s relationships to both reinforce other forms of face-to-face IPVA as well as constituting a discrete form of abuse. Building on these findings, the second half of the chapter addresses what we can do to prevent this form of abuse in young people’s lives, and discusses the app that was developed as part of the STIR project.

Most international research on IPVA in young people’s relationships has addressed three forms of abuse: physical; sexual and emotional/psychological. However, more recent studies have sought to examine the issue of abuse though new technologies, examine one or more of the following components: emotional online abuse (e.g. posting nasty/derogatory online messages); controlling behaviour (e.g. using mobile phones or social networking sites to try and control who someone can be friends with/where they go/or how to dress); surveillance (e.g. constantly checking on what partners have been doing /who they you have been seeing, demanding passwords to online social media accounts ); social isolation (e.g. attempting to isolate partners from friends by posting untrue/derogatory messages from their phones etc.) and coerced sexting. It is important to remember that in practice different forms of IPVA often intersect.

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