Best Practice

The issue of violence in teenage relationships

Violence in adolescent relationships is a growing concern for many. Expert Mark Bowles examines the evidence, prevalence, and impact of this kind of violence on young people – and looks at what schools can do to play their part in tackling the problem

Violence in romantic relationships has been long thought to be an adult issue. However significant evidence from the US exists in relation to its prevalence within adolescent relationships and an understanding of its impact is building in the UK.

Because domestic violence is often perceived as an adult issue, the focus of most research has been on adults and the impact of domestic abuse on their wider families (1, 2). More recently, intimate partner violence among young people has been highlighted as “an understudied area of maltreatment in the UK" and this omission has significantly hampered the development of theoretical understanding and effective prevention programmes (3).

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