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Website URL : http://www.swansea.gov.uk/index.cfm?articleid=53220

Help for young people facing domestic abuse

A NEW initiative aimed at supporting young people experiencing domestic abuse is taking shape in Swansea.

image depicting RAY - Love Hurts

The RAY (Reduce Abuse for Youth) project has chosen Valentine's Day to launch a new set of leaflets aimed at turning a spotlight on what young people can do to keep their friends and themselves safe if a relationship turns sour.

According to the Crime Survey for England and Wales, young people between the ages of 16 and 24 are those most at risk of domestic abuse and the NSPCC has found that 75% girls and 14% boys have experienced emotional abuse in their own relationships.

The RAY Project is part of Info-Nation, Swansea Council's information, advice and support service for young people. It started in 2008 and works with children and young people aged eight to 25 across Swansea in schools and young people's projects to raise awareness about domestic abuse.

Cllr Mitch Theaker, Swansea Council's Cabinet Member for Opportunities for Children and Young People, said: "Swansea Council is committed to acting early to address issues that affect our children and young people.

"Sometimes young people who witness domestic abuse or are targets of it can feel there's no-one they can speak to confidentially about their situation. That sense of isolation can result in them waiting longer than they need to before seeking out support.

"The RAY Project and the leaflets that have been produced are part of a range of measures that we have introduced as part of the Council's prevention and early intervention work."

The leaflets were designed with help from students from Swansea Metropolitan University and are aimed at teenagers.

They raise awareness about domestic abuse, providing information, advice and direction for young people to get further support.

Hannah, aged 17, said: "They're really good, informative and clear. Also, it's a nice design - not too childish but not too boring either."

The leaflets include information to help people identify whether they are experiencing domestic abuse or helping a friend. They also include information on home life, conflict resolution and keeping safe in relationships where abuse may be happening.

They come as changes in the law mean that, from March 2013, the Home Office's official definition of domestic abuse will change to include 16 and 17-year-olds.

The project hopes to develop further leaflets based on domestic abuse within same sex relationships and a guide for young people around the law, how police deal with complaints and an explanation of what happens if the complaint goes to court.

Contact Vikki Williams, Domestic Abuse Worker (Children and Young People) on 01792 643540 or vikki.williams@swansea.gov.uk for more information or to order leaflets.

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