STREET Gloucestershire, a new service supporting young people aged 13-19 who have been affected by domestic abuse in their own teenage relationship or within their family, officially launched on Friday 13 December at Gloucester Rugby Club.
Studies show that 16-19 year olds are more at risk of experiencing domestic abuse in their relationships than any other age group; however, abuse can begin even earlier. An NSPCC survey of 13 to 17 year olds found that 25% of girls and 18% of boys reported having experienced some form of physical violence from a partner and that the severity and forms of abuse are no different from adults.
Gloucestershire County Council is responding to this need for specialist support for the county’s young people by working with West Mercia Women’s Aid, who are partnering with Gloucestershire Domestic Abuse Support Service (GDASS), to provide a new service called STREET (Safe Teen Relationship Education and Empowerment Team) Gloucestershire.
While the service has been providing support since the summer, the launch event brought together professionals working with young people to learn more about it. Key partners - GDASS, Victim Support, youth support services Prospects, Gardeners Lane & Oakwood Federation (GLOWFED) children and family centres, Stroud Beresford Group, No Child Left Behind, Gloucestershire Rape & Sexual Abuse Centre (GRASAC), Young Gloucestershire and Info Buzz - were also on hand to give information about the services they provide in Gloucestershire.
Sue Coleman, Chief Executive of West Mercia Women’s Aid, said: “We’re really pleased to have the opportunity to work with young people in Gloucestershire as we believe that working with them is particularly important in changing attitudes and confronting the damaging impact of domestic abuse upon the lives of families.”
Cllr Kathy Williams, cabinet member at Gloucestershire County Council with responsibility for domestic abuse, commented: “Domestic abuse can take many forms and young people can be especially vulnerable. STREET is providing an essential specialist service for teenagers and the county council is committed to supporting people of all ages who experience domestic abuse.”
Clare Woodhouse, Deputy Service Manager at GDASS, added: “We were pleased to welcome so many professionals and agencies to the launch event. We hope they found it informative and useful, and made the most of the opportunity to find out more about STREET, the ways to refer into the service, and meet the staff involved.”
Information on how to refer a young person to STREET can be found at www.westmerciawomensaid.org/services/street. For further information, please email email@example.com or call the information line on 01452 726584.