Teenagers urged to seek help with abusive relationships

By Tim Clarke Tuesday 11 December 2012 Updated: 12/12 14:51

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Buy photos » Bill Longmore, Police and Crime Commissioner for West Mercia, university lecturer Ruth Jones and Professor David Green, Vice Chancellor of the University of Worcester, mark the end of the 16 Days of Action appeal. (s)

YOUNG people who are being abused by their partner have been urged to seek support from a project which is empowering teenage victims.

The CRUSH Project is run by West Mercia Women's Aid and helps youngsters aged from 13 to 19 avoid and escape abusive relationships.

The project also works with young people who have witnessed domestic abuse in their home as well as helping perpetrators to reform their behaviour and seek healthier relationships.

Last week we reported how more than 3,500 youngsters found themselves caught up in the 6,857 domestic abuse incidents which were reported in the county during the first six months of the year.

The 16 Days of Action appeal, which was supported by The Standard and ended on Monday (December 10), has been trying to raise awareness of such abuse and help bring an end to it.

The campaign has been spearheaded locally by the Worcestershire Forum Against Domestic Abuse.

Jemma Price, CRUSH co-ordinator, said she hoped it would encourage more young people to seek support.

"I would encourage them to get in contact because it happens to so many young people but many don't do anything about it," she said.

"Young people will normalise and accept things without realising the impact it will have them. An adult woman will on average experience 36 counts of domestic abuse before she seeks help and the statistics with young people are very similar. We don't want them to wait that long - we want them to seek help from us."

Young people who take part in the CRUSH project work in groups and use fictional characters to explore what a healthy and abusive relationship looks like.

They learn how to spot the warning signs of an abusive partner and how to get out of the relationship safely.

CRUSH also helps young abusers by teaching them about their responsibilities, how to cope with their feelings and listen to the needs of their partner.

"Our work is a preventative tool to stop them getting involved in an abusive relationship but also get them thinking about their behaviour and how they treat other people," she added.

Anyone who would like to seek support from CRUSH can call the referral number on 0800 0149084 or email crush@westmerciawomensaid.org

People can also find useful information and advice by following @CrushProject on twitter or by searching for the CRUSH project on Facebook.

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Buy photos» Worcestershire’s MPs Robin Walker, Mark Garnier, Karen Lumley, Peter Luff and Sajid Javid show their support for the campaign to end domestic abuse. (s)

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