27. april 2018

Christine Barter

Christine-BarterDr Christine Barter is a Reader in Young People and Violence Prevention at the Connect Centre for International Research on Interpersonal Violence and Harm, University of Central Lancashire, UK.

She publishes widely and has produced papers and books on a range of topics concerning children’s and young people’s experiences of violence.

Her research in the past 15 years has concentrated on intimate violence in young people’s relationships. She led the first European research project to measure the prevalence and impact of online and offline forms of abuse in teenage relationships. Her current research focuses on prevention.

Key note title

Violence and Abuse in Young People’s Relationships

He said ‘No, you will not go out with so and so’, ‘No you won’t wear that dress’…I felt that I am 16 and I felt married!” (Smaragda, female, 17, Cyprus)

International research on violence and abuse in young people’s relationships has shown that domestic violence is not restricted to adult relationships. The significance and impact of this form of abuse should not be underestimated. In England, Kayleigh Ann Palmer aged 16, and her unborn baby, were murdered by her abusive boyfriend as she attempted to leave the relationship. In Germany ‘Mia V’ aged 15 died when her abusive boyfriend stabbed her to death in a shop. Recent US research found that between 2003 and 2016, 150 adolescents aged 18 or under were murdered by their intimate partners: 90% were female.

Nevertheless, US and more recently European research has frequently depicted this form of domestic violence as a gender-neutral issue, claiming that young men are as likely to be victimised as young woman. However, I will argue that when frequency, severity, intimate sexual violence and impact are included in the analysis, a rather different picture emerges. Drawing on my own European research, I will explore the prevalence of different forms of intimate violence and abuse, including abuse through digital technologies, and question the analysis and assumptions held within wider studies. Young people’s own narratives will be used throughout. In conclusion, I will outline some of the challenges in seeking to prevent and respond to this form of domestic violence.