Teenagers' Experience of Domestic Violence Refuges

Bracewell, Kelly orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-4635-7489 (2017) Teenagers' Experience of Domestic Violence Refuges. Other. UNSPECIFIED. (Unpublished)

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Teenagers can experience domestic violence both in the family home and/or in their own relationships. Some will need to move to temporary refuge accommodation. The Government’s definition of domestic violence now includes young people aged 16 and 17. This means that refuges need to ensure that their services are appropriate and accessible for this group.

This research was carried out as part of a PhD study at the University of Central Lancashire. It took place over 12 months
(2014-15) in refuges across the North West, East Midlands and West Midlands in England. It involved telephone interviews
with 25 members of staff and face to face interviews with 20 teenagers aged 13 to 18 years. Interviews with teenagers
were repeated so they could talk about their experiences at different points during their refuge stay.

This research found that teenagers need to be recognised as refuge service users in their own right. The teenage years provide an opportunity to build resilience and recovery following domestic violence and to prevent it in the future. Refuges can struggle to acknowledge and meet the rights of teenagers, and for some young people, this results in a prolonged negative experience that intensifies their experiences of abuse.

The research recommendations are relevant for refuge services, policy makers, funders and other professionals. Refuges need to identify teenagers’ needs and appropriate resources are required.

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