Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

Teenage victims to be recognised

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg

Teenage victims of domestic violence and abuse will be officially recognised as victims under Government plans, Nick Clegg said.

The Home Office is widening the definition of domestic abuse to include those aged 16 and 17 as well as a wider range of coercive or threatening behaviour, the Deputy Prime Minister said.

But campaigners warned that more funding is urgently required to help support the highly-vulnerable victims.

Mr Clegg said the changes, which will be in place by March next year, "help expose the true face of domestic violence, which is much more complex and much more widespread than people often realise".

He said: "Suffering at the hands of people who are meant to care for you is horrific at any age. But it can be especially damaging for young people - the scars can last a lifetime."

The Government wants to send a clear message that "even if you're young, even if what you experience isn't one single act of violence, you do not have to put up with abuse", he added. "There is help out there for you. And to the perpetrators the message is equally simple: what you're doing is wrong and won't be tolerated."

The definition will not be written into law but it will be broadened to include "any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality".

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