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Teachers 'need help spotting abuse'

Two in five teachers, lecturers and support staff are not confident they would be able to spot desperate teenagers in need of help because they are stuck in abusive relationships, a poll suggests .

A total of 43% of education staff said they doubted whether or not they could spot if a youngster was being subjected to controlling behaviour or physical, emotional and sexual abuse from their partners.

The figures were released by children's charity NSPCC and education union Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) as the organisations released new guidance for people who work with youngsters on spotting signs of abuse.

Relationships between young people can be "just as intense" as those between adults, the new guidance states. Many youngsters will not have had a relationship before and might not realise that their partner's behaviour is abusive, it adds.

The poll, conducted on 750 education staff working in middle and secondary state-funded and independent schools, sixth form colleges and FE colleges across the UK, also found that one in four have been asked for help by youngsters suffering from relationship abuse.

Peter Wanless, NSPCC chief executive, said: "Young people experiencing abuse in their relationship are turning to teachers for help. It is crucial that teachers are given the support they need to help students deal with this.

"Our new resources can provide professionals with practical advice on how to help pupils who come to them. They also give guidance on warning signs that a pupil may be in an abusive relationship and what action teachers can take. As always the most important aspect is that teachers act swiftly and that the policy is regularly reviewed."

Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary of ATL, added: "ATL members are concerned about the damage done to young people in abusive relationships and want to support them. However, they also need training on how to spot the signs and where they should direct young people so that they can get the appropriate level of help.

"We know the risks inherent in abusive relationships and the patterns they can create. These resources will help education staff and those leading schools and colleges to support young people and break this vicious cycle."


From Belfast Telegraph