Julie Clarke

Abstract title: Young people’s attitudes to Sexual and Domestic abuse – observations from a District Council Safeguarding Officer


Experiences of working with young people, as a Community Safety Officer and a Lead Safeguarding Officer at Harborough District Council, with regard to their attitudes and attitude change around Sexual and Domestic Abuse are explored in this paper.

Firstly, the paper draws upon the presenter’s observational practice of the delivery of Sexual and Domestic Abuse workshops to Year 10 students (14-15 year olds), within local schools, over the past decade. Reflections on how far general attitudes of young people attending the workshops have changed over time, in relation to Sexual and Domestic abuse, are made with some core themes focused on such as attitudes about sex/role gender expectations in ‘dating’ and in close and intimate relationships. The impact and power of social media on self-esteem and how this has impacted the workshops is also explored.  The paper then asks whether   education and awareness raising to third parties, who are often able to recognise that abuse is occurring but may be unsure of how best to help the victim, may be the key in moving forward.

The second part of the paper focuses on the presenters work with other agencies, drawing upon general good practices and enablers alongside barriers and blocks, particularly with regard to information sharing practices and information sharing protocols. This includes difficulties in building relationships with workers in commissioned services, due to short term funding and high staff turnover   , which can make it difficult to ensure that relevant staff have a clear picture of where there are gaps in services. This is an issue that has been documented both in practice and in academic literature (for example see Turgoose 2016).

The paper concludes with the notion that ‘networking’ and the ‘personal touch’ is invaluable in ensuring that front line workers, who do not specialise exclusively in the field of Sexual and Domestic Abuse, know what services are available locally and their referral pathway routes to have the best chance of ensuring that information flow is efficient and effective and therefore improving the experience for victims/survivors.

The presentation will prompt discussion among attendees about how key messages might be better delivered, to ensure that the right messages are reaching the right people at the right time and at the right age.


Reference List

Turgoose, D. Victim Support Services and the World of Commissioning in Hilder, S. and Bettinson, V. (2016) Domestic Violence: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Protection, Prevention and Intervention, Palgrave Macmillan Limited


Keywords Young People; Sexual and Domestic Abuse; Observational practice; Self-esteem,


Julie Clarke

Equality, Diversity and Safeguarding Lead,

Harborough District Council


E-mail:           j.clarke@harborough.gov.uk

Telephone: 01858 821070

Mobile:          07827 883341