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For Parents

We can help your child if they are in an unhealthy relationship or recovering from one

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Unhealthy relationships, or teen relationship abuse, is a pattern of behaviour which one person chooses to inflict on a current or former partner to control them

of young people

will experience some form of relationship abuse by the time they are 19 years old

1 in 4

will experience physical violence in their relationship

1 in 10

will experience physical violence in their relationship

(Source: NSPCC, 2009)

The signs of an unhealthy relationship

We know that teen relationship abuse can happen to anyone; it doesn’t have to include physical violence. We understand that parents can sometimes struggle to understand whether their teen is in an unhealthy relationship. Signs that your teen may be in an unhealthy relationship include:

Always prioritising their partner over friends & family
Being less confident or having lower self-esteem
Your child may be depressed, anxious or may self-harm
Your teen may be more withdrawn, but hostile if you ask about the relationship
Making excuses for their partner and justifying their behaviour, often blaming themselves
Putting their partner’s needs before their own
Physical injuries, which they could be hiding, or have poor excuses for
Change in attendance and performance at school
Spending less time on their usual interests / hobbies
Having to prove who they are with or where they are to their partner
Fearful or anxious about upsetting their partner
Changing or cancelling plans last minute
Dressing older than they are or covering up

Not all of these signs may be present in your teens’ relationship; if you have any concerns, please contact us.

Break the Cycle aims to work with young people to help them understand the nature of unhealthy relationships and to assist with recovery.  We understand that supporting your child through this process can be incredibly challenging; we can provide you with guidance as well as support for your child.

Break the Cycle is a part of Safe Steps, a specialist agency helping people of all ages who may be experiencing domestic abuse. Our specialist young people’s service works to ensure that young people can be safe within their own relationships.

Contact us

How can I get support for my child?

Contact Break the Cycle

Contact us to talk about your concerns and we can discuss the support we can offer.

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Reach Out

Speak to your child’s tutor, wellbeing or safeguarding lead at school about your concerns.

If you need to speak with someone urgently and the above are not available or appropriate call:


If you live in Essex and need non-emergency support relating to domestic violence, please call the Essex Domestic Abuse Helpline

National Domestic Violence Helpline

If you do not live in Essex but need non-emergency support relating to domestic violence, please contact the 24-hour helpline number

In an emergency, always call the Police on 999 or 101 if less urgent



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The training gave me conversation starters to aid communication with young people.

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My daughter loved speaking to Break the Cycle at school and found the talks really helpful.

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Break the Cycle has made such a massive difference in our lives.  I don’t think they realise what an impact they’ve made.

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My son says that he feels really good when he has spoken with Break the Cycle.  His behaviour has improved as well.

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Adam's behaviour has improved dramatically since he has been talking to Break the Cycle.  He has been doing better with schoolwork and he’s been talking to me in a more respectful way.  Thank you so much.

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