Majority of Further Education students have experienced dating and relationship violence

30 November 2017

Relationship violence

Over 50% of 16-19 year old Further Education students have experienced some form of violence when dating or in a relationship, a new study finds.

Research conducted at Cardiff University found that in a group of 16-19 year old Further Education students in England and Wales, 55.1% of males and 53.5% of females reported experiencing some form of dating and relationship violence.

Results also found that that those who had ever sent a sexually explicit image of themselves were between 2-8 times more likely to have experienced some form of dating and relationship violence. Around 45% of participants in the study reported sending sexually explicit images.

Dating and relationship violence is defined as threats, emotional abuse, coercion, controlling behaviours, physical violence, and coerced, non-consensual or abusive sexual activities perpetrated by a current or former casual or steady partner.

The study, which collected data from 2105 students, found that the most common form of dating and relationship violence was controlling behaviour, experienced by more than one third of all participants with dating or relationship experience.

Dr Honor Young of Cardiff University’s School of Social Sciences who led the research, said: “The results of this study found that, generally, socio-demographic characteristics were not related to dating and relationship violence. The absence of gender differences and social patterning suggests that dating and relationship violence is becoming normalised for 16-19 year olds.

“The other result from the study was the increased odds of experiencing some form of dating and relationship violence for those who have ever sent a sexually explicit image. This was between 2-8 times greater for males and 2-4 times greater for females...”

Honor Young

"With the data that we have, we don’t know the order of events – which came first, the sexually explicit images or the dating and relationship violence – but we do know that those who have ever sent a sexually explicit image were more likely to have also experienced some form of dating and relationship violence."

Dr Honor Young, Lecturer in quantitative research methods / Research associate

The research was conducted as part of the SaFE (Safe Sex and Healthy Relationships in Further Education) project, a collaboration between Cardiff University, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the Institute of Education and sexual health charity Brook. Funding came from the Medical Research Council’s Public Health Intervention Development Scheme.

The paper, Dating and relationship violence among 16–19 year olds in England and Wales: a cross-sectional study of victimization, is published in the Journal of Public Health.

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