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We heard of concerning attitudes and abuse between young people in intimate relationships. However, 16–18 year olds are excluded from the current government definition of Domestic Violence, there has been little research on the needs of teenage victims and perpetrators of domestic violence, and there is little support for under-18s in abusive relationships. The existence of abuse in teenage relationships further underlines the urgent need for effective early education on domestic violence and relationships.
The Government’s current definition of domestic violence excludes 16–18 year olds. The Association of Chief Police Officers told us that this was a problem:
There is increasing comment directed to us from practitioners and professionals that by excluding persons under 18, vulnerable young people in abusive relationships are being deprived of the expertise and resources available to adults in similar circumstances.
ACPO recommended an extension of the Government’s definition to include “persons over the age of 16 who are or have been intimate partners and adults (i.e. over 18 years) in other familial relationships”