Concerning increase in domestic abuse & coercive behaviour in under 25s

Information gathered from 39 police forces in England and Wales has highlighted concerning and increasing levels of cases of coercive and controlling behaviour in the under 25s.

“Coercive control” goes beyond physical and emotional abuse and is often part of a pattern of domestic abuse. It includes threatening, degrading and humiliating behaviour, gaslighting, monitoring and more.

Since 2015, when coercive control became a crime, over 20% of cases involved young people under 25. However, only 5% of cases where the accused person was under 25 led to a charge.

That the statistics for the level of domestic abuse in this country are stark will probably come as no surprise. Approximately 10.4 million adults in the UK have experienced domestic abuse. This figure excludes the under 16’s.

Cases of violence against women are constantly in the news. Whether it is relationship generated – as highlighted by the current Russell Brand investigation, assaults aggravated by the abuse of power such as those by Harvey Weinstein or Wayne Couzens, or allegations of inappropriate behaviour in the workplace.

It is less well known is that women aged 16 -19 are more likely to be victims than women aged 25 years and over.  Similarly, men aged 16 – 19 were more likely to experience domestic abuse than any other age.

1 in 5 teenage girls have experienced domestic abuse in their dating relationship.

Teen dating abuse is like other domestic abuse. It can involve coercive and controlling behavior, physical violence (like slapping, hitting or punching), emotional abuse, sexual abuse, and financial abuse. Other examples include displays of extreme jealousy, mind games name-calling, threats, isolation from friends and family, emotional blackmail, sharing explicit images unwanted sexual contact, sexual assault and getting someone drunk or drugged.

Many teenagers keep quiet about what is happening to them and parents are often the last to know. This can be for many reasons including embarrassment and shame, particularly if this is their first relationship. They may be afraid of repercussions, disappointing their parents or losing their trust. Some may think that mistreatment is normal or that they are to blame, especially if the abuser always blames them.

There is lots of support available for young persons, and it is essential for parents to seek guidance as well. This will ensure that they offer the appropriate support and prevent unintentionally worsening the situation.

If your child needs support contact

If you need legal advice please get in touch with Claire Dean at

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