Police are launching a campaign to raise awareness about the signs of domestic abuse.
The five-week initiative includes helping young people to recognise when they are in abusive relationships.
They will use social media activity – including Facebook advertising – to highlight the types of abuse that young people can suffer and the help and support available to them.
Statistics show that by the age of 16, 31 per cent of young women and 18 per cent of young men have experienced some form of domestic abuse. There are also victims who are suffering abuse from as young as 13 years old.
A spokesman said: “Abuse can take place in lots of different ways; some of the most horrific abuse does not necessarily leave visible scars. That can be very difficult for those suffering that abuse to feel believed or come to terms with the fact that what is happening to them is very wrong. Aside from physical abuse, we support victims who have suffered stalking, harassment, threats, extremely controlling behaviour, humiliation. Sexual abuse, not surprisingly, is often the most painful form of abuse to disclose.
“It’s important that we respond to young people in abusive intimate relationships as our service supports victims who are aged 13- 19 years old. Our aim is to support young people at all stages of an abusive relationship, but also in the early stages of abuse before those behaviours become accepted and normalised within intimate relationships. Also, we want to prevent the abuse escalating into something more serious and life threatening.
“This campaign is aimed at raising awareness among young people, letting them know that there is help available.
“Police and partner agencies don’t always come into contact with young people using our more traditional forms of communication so we will be using social media channels to target them. We would urge young people to share concerns with police, but if they do not feel able to, then other professionals such as their GP, health worker, youth worker, school/college tutor, or the DA 24-hour helpline.
“Our message to anyone who thinks they may be in an abusive relationship is – don’t suffer in silence.”
The force has a DAISU (Domestic abuse investigation and safeguarding unit), to investigate all domestic abuse crimes, as well as a domestic violence desk run with Cambridgeshire County Council Independent Domestic Violence Advisory Service (IDVAS).
The IDVAS team support high-risk victims of domestic violence in crisis, providing support and guidance regarding their immediate safety and the safety of the children in their care. This includes safety planning, assistance with safe accommodation, security within the home, finances, benefits, and support through criminal and civil court proceedings.
The team has also recruited the county’s first Young Persons IDVAS who provides support to young people aged between 13 and 19 years old, who are or have been in abusive intimate relationships.
INFORMATION: Contact police on 101.