Zero Tolerance and YWCA Scotland have today published a report of a training pilot, “Under Pressure: Preventing Teen Abuse and Exploitation” which found that youth workers across Scotland are seriously concerned about the prevalence of teen abuse in Scotland. The report, which will be launched at the Scottish Parliament, found that more than two thirds of youth workers were concerned that young people they were working with had experienced abuse within a relationship.
The baseline survey of youth workers who took part in the training (65 responses) asked about young people’s behaviour and attitudes. The responses were consistent with research evidence about normalisation and prevalence of gender-based abuse:
• Most youth workers (86.2%) had experience of young people making comments that could be seen as hurtful to others because of their gender, sexuality or sexual behaviour
• More than two thirds of youth workers (69.2%) had experience of young people engaging in behaviour that had given cause for concern that they might be involved in an abusive or controlling relationship
• Over half of youth workers (58.5%) had experience of young people exchanging images or texts with content that involved harmful gender stereotyping that could be seen as sexually demeaning or abusive.
• More than a third (36.9%) of youth workers had experience of young people saying they felt pressured into engaging in activities of a sexual nature that they felt uncomfortable with; and young people saying they had been asked to do something they felt uncomfortable about by a person with whom they were in a relationship.
• Only five youth workers (7.7%) had not experienced any of the above
The launch comes on the same day as the Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) and Zero Tolerance launch an online campaign to raise awareness of teen relationship abuse. The campaign, which features an animation of a flower whose petals are slowly lost, is based around the traditional “he loves me, he loves me not” game, with the falling of each petal highlighting an example of behaviour that could be construed as controlling or potentially abusive.