Examination of Witnesses

Part of Domestic Abuse Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:24 pm on 29th October 2019.

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Sally Noden:

It is great that we are looking at it, but we need to recognise those relationships and we need to look at services through the lens of a young person or teenager. An adult service may not meet those needs. In Newcastle, we have a service called West End Women and Girls Centre, which has peer educators, and those peer educators are young people who have been through abusive relationships and are now trained to be peer educators with other young people. That sort of service is really important.

I have experience of a young person working in a service. I was in a children’s centre and I was running the Freedom programme, which is a social educational programme. This young person was 17 and I suggested that she came on to the programme, but there were women who were much older than her and their experiences were very different to her experience, and she did not feel as valid. I learned from that mistake. She did not feel valid because her relationship was an 18-month relationship and she was listening to women who had been in abusive relationships for 30 years. I did a lot of work with her after that. We absolutely need to recognise that there are abusive relationships, but we need to have the right responses for them.