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"It's shocking how uneducated people are"

Monday 09 December 2019

"It's shocking how uneducated people are"

Monday 09 December 2019

With domestic abuse highlighted as a growing concern for Guernsey's young people, the Youth Commission has been heading around schools teaching teenagers the warning signs they can look out for.

The issue was raised in the recent Young People's Survey, reflecting UK stats which suggest more young people than ever are contacting the NSPCC and Women's Aid for help with abusive relationships.

"Young people are a bit more vulnerable these days," said Rimna Khanom from the Commission. "Traditionally, it is known as something that is physical or happens between a husband and wife, but actually it can happen between boyfriends and girlfriends, between siblings, and we want to make sure young people are aware of what to look out for.

youth commission domestic abuse

Pictured: Students shared their thoughts on post-it notes which were displayed in the school.

"There's so many more things that can happen now because of social media like stalking, harassment, even the simple things of checking each other's phones. How invasive are we being? How are we not protecting our own privacy?

"Everyone is entitled to their own privacy and it's important that young people know that they can live independent lives when in a relationship."

Some students at the Grammar School & Sixth Form Centre were "shocked" by statistics on the Commission's display, and said they would like to be taught more about domestic abuse in school.

"It's shocking how uneducated people are on it and how little we know about it," said Year 12 student, Caitlin Torode. "The male statistics are a lot higher than I expected. We view males as more violent and scary and intimidating, but we don't view women like that. It can be the other way round. I think people need to be more educated on it."

youth commission domestic abuse

Pictured: Some students were "shocked" at the statistics.

As well as setting up displays in school social areas, the Youth Commission has been teaching PSHE lessons focusing on the different types of controlling behaviours that are against the law in Guernsey.

"We chat about [domestic abuse] in English in the texts but I don't think we talk about it in this kind of way," added Year 12 student, Nadine Chapman. "We see it as something that happens but not on this scale. It's actually a lot bigger and worse than I thought."

Ms Khanom hopes the charity can help students recognise signs of abusive relationships and open up to their peers about their own experiences.

youth commission domestic abuse

Pictured: The Commission aims to help students support one another.

"There many be some changes in behaviours," she continued. "Maybe you've got a friend who might be quite an outgoing person and they might go into a relationship and suddenly their behaviour changes. Maybe they become a little bit more isolated, maybe they don't want to see you as much as they used to, maybe they don't want you to visit their house anymore, maybe they're trying to keep thing more private.

"You might also see changes in how they look. They might start changing the way they dress because their partner is controlling what they wear. Those are little things that young people can look out for."

Pictured top: Kellie Le Prevost, Rimna Khanom and Taz Talbot from the Youth Commission.

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