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Preventing adolescent relationship abuse: new NZFVC Issues Paper

June 01, 2017 at 3:43 PM

*From the New Zealand Family Violence Clearinghouse*

Violence and abuse in teenage relationships is a serious problem in New Zealand but does not receive the same level of attention as violence in adult relationships, according to a New Zealand Family Violence Clearinghouse Issues Paper released today.

Author Dr Melanie Beres of the University of Otago says "Adolescence is a key time to intervene and support young people to build healthy relationship skills."

The paper, Preventing adolescent relationship abuse and promoting healthy relationships, found:

  • 29% of New Zealand secondary students reported being hit or harmed by another person in the previous year (Youth 2012 study)
  • 20% of female and 9% of male secondary school students reported having experienced unwanted sexual behaviour in the previous year. The majority of incidents were perpetrated by a boyfriend, girlfriend or friend.
  • 21% of women who stayed in women’s refuges in 2015/16 were aged 15-19 years.

Dr Beres said prevention is key to addressing this problem.

"A key part of prevention is transforming the underlying gender norms that shape and enable abuse. For example, boys are taught to be tough, strong and in control. They are taught that they should want sex and it’s their job to initiate and 'get' it."

"There have been numerous examples of this in the media in recent months. We need to provide alternative norms about both masculinity and femininity that value non-aggression and respect in boys while allowing for vulnerability."

"Efforts need to address all levels of society, from national policy and community norms to schools programmes and family awareness."

"Prevention and intervention efforts need to draw on international evidence of what works, but also work closely with local communities.

"Kaupapa Māori approaches to building healthy relationships and addressing adolescent relationship abuse also need to be developed."



Better Education to Protect Teens From Sexual Violence, Media release: New Zealand First Party, Scoop, 01.06.17

Family Planning a Lost Cause 1 June 2017, Media release: Conservative Party, Scoop, 01.06.2017

Latest research echoes view on teen domestic violence, Press release: Women's Refuge, 31.05.2017

Kaupapa Māori approaches could help address adolescent relationship abuse, Māori TV, 31.05.2017

NZ students facing unwanted sexual behaviour, Radio NZ, 31.05.2017

NZ Family Violence Clearinghouse study on adolescent relationship violence revealed, NZ Herald, 31.05.2017

Young people in abusive relationships don't tell parents - expert, Newstalk ZB, 31.05.2017

Revealed: Damning stats show teenage abuse a serious problem in NZ, Newstalk ZB, 31.05.2017

New figures reveal 'shocking' teenage violence, abuse in NZ, Newstalk ZB, 31.05.2017

NZ students facing unwanted sexual behaviour, Radio NZ, 31.05.2017

Teenage Abuse Statistics Revealed, Radio NZ, 31.05.2017

Revealed: Violent teen relationships, NZ Herald, 31.05.2017 

Violence, abuse prevalent in teenage relationships across New Zealand, Stuff, 31.05.2017

Adolescents have highest rate of partner violence, Media release: Superu, Scoop, 31.05.2017

Research calls for action on adolescent relationship violence, Media release: University of Otago, Scoop, 31.05.2017

Abuse in teen relationships a problem in NZ - study, Newshub, 31.05.2017

Teens lost at where to turn when in abusive relationship - counsellor, Newstalk ZB, 31.05.2017

Category: Reports