We are Voice Against Violence, 8 young people who have experienced domestic abuse. Our role is to advise adults in power (e.g. politicians and heads of agencies) about what needs to change to make sure that other children have a smoother journey. To do this though, we wanted to hear what young people from all of Scotland think about domestic abuse and what can be done to end it.
Domestic abuse is when someone harms another person on purpose. It happens in a relationship – like between your parents, or from your boyfriend or girlfriend. It can be physical, mental and sexual. If there is domestic abuse going on at home it can be really scary and traumatic for a child. If you can’t see it then you can hear it. Sometimes you might be hurt directly by the person who is abusive.
Over 600 young people from all over Scotland answered our online survey. Unsurprisingly, Schools was a big topic and their biggest priority was for more lessons on domestic abuse. They asked for the right kind of information and education in schools to help them recognise abuse and build healthy relationships.
Young people’s second priority was for more training for teachers about domestic abuse so they can understand what children are going through and really help. School can be your one place of safety if you are going through domestic abuse. It is the law in Scotland for the teacher to make sure that the child gets Additional Support for Learning if there looks like there is a problem. Many children are not getting the support they need to continue education because teachers don’t recognise domestic abuse and don’t understand the stress about matters at home. This needs to change!
We have taken young people’s views to the adults in power including the Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Tam Baillie who is Scotland’s Commissioner for Children and Young People. They have promised to act on them! You can read the Voice Against Violence report on young people’s views here, it is called Shaping the Future.
If you are living in fear in your own home – you’re not alone, you can get through it, there is light at the end of the tunnel and people out there who care and can support you. Talking to a trusted adult like a teacher or contacting ChildLine on 0800 1111 can really help. Also, check out the Safe Hub Scotland website – it’s been made by young people experiencing domestic abuse to help others like them.
To all young people we say use your voice to make a difference – let’s be the generation that doesn’t stand for domestic abuse, that won’t tolerate it. It’s your future, your country…help change it!