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For Professionals

We can assist you to support a young person if they are in an unhealthy relationship or recovering from one

Worried teen girl

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.
(Source: NSPCC, 2009)

1 in 4

will experience physical violence in their relationship.
(Source: NSPCC, 2009)

1 in 10

will experience physical violence in their relationship.
(Source: NSPCC, 2009)

of young people

experience controlling behaviour in relationships and almost a third of young people say they find it difficult to define the line between a caring action and a controlling one.
(Refuge and Avon, 2017)

1 in 5

experience physical violence from their partners.
(Stonard et al, 2014)

The signs of an unhealthy relationship

We know that teen relationship abuse can happen to anyone; it doesn’t have to include physical violence.  Signs that your pupil/young person may be in an unhealthy relationship include:

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Being more withdrawn, but hostile if asked about the relationship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

How Break the Cycle can help:

We can offer young people:

  • An allocated worker for one-to-one confidential support from a Young People’s IDVA (Independent Domestic Violence Advisor)

  • Support to improve self-esteem and confidence

  • Help to make sense of and validate their experiences, so they can process what has happened

  • Help to manage their emotions in a healthy way such as anxiety and anger

  • An assessment of the potential risk to the young person and devising a safety and support plan

  • Support with home life, housing, finances, education/ work, accessing health services (physical, mental and sexual)

  • Advocacy to help them share their voice and opinion with other adults and professionals

Break the Cycle is a project run by Safe Steps, a specialist Southend‑based agency supporting people of all ages affected by domestic abuse. Safe Steps delivers a variety of interventions and support for men, women and families affected by domestic abuse.

Visit Safe Steps for more information, help or to make a referral for specific domestic abuse services.

We can offer you:

Advice and guidance about how to raise the topic of relationship abuse with a pupil/young person you are concerned about

Prevention and awareness-raising workshops, courses and events for your young people

Training for you and your colleagues to raise awareness and to highlight further action you can take

Posters and additional material for display within your school/youth setting to promote awareness of healthy relationships

Hidden Harm

The hardest-to-reach children and young people are sometimes the ones most in need of our help.  Our Hidden Harm project works with professionals from other services (such as social care, probation and drug/alcohol treatment services) to identify and support these young people.

The Hidden Harm project is run by a specialist Child and Young Persons Domestic Violence Advisor, who can work on a one-to-one basis with young people who are struggling with relationship abuse or violence within their family home.

As part of our work we also offer training and additional support and guidance to professionals to raise awareness, promote safe working practices and to ensure that these children and young people are not overlooked.

For more information, please contact us on:

This project is funded by Southend-on-Sea City Council.

Sad teen girl

The Referral Process

Only 11% of referrals for our young people’s services come as self or family referrals — the rest are from professionals. This is why it is so important to refer to us and not simply signpost young people to us.

Break the Cycle logo

Contact Break the Cycle

Call us to talk through a potential referral or complete a referral form