• Useful information for adults who work with or care for young people.

    Learn about how teenagers experience relationship abuse, how to teach them about healthy relationships and how to help those who are experiencing abuse in their relationships.


Case Studies

In this section are personal stories from those who have experienced abuse, portrayed by actors, and are here as examples to help those around young people recognise potential warning signs.


Ashley shares her personal story of relationship abuse. She experienced verbal, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse. She met her partner when she was 15, and has a child from the relationship. Listen to her story; the abuse she experienced, and how she managed to leave the relationship. Can you spot any warning signs from your own relationship?

Warning Signs of ASHLEY’S STORY's case

  • The relationship starting and ending a number of times.

  • The insults and put downs, accusing her of cheating.

  • The emotional abuse trying to persuade her to have a child but telling her to abort another child.

  • His anger and jealousy.

  • Her partner saying their child was not his.

  • The physical abuse which escalated.

  • The manipulation and control to isolate Ashley.

People who could have seen ASHLEY

Could you have met Ashley? Is there a young person you know in a similar situation? It’s time to talk, find more information about offering young people advise and who you can ask for help on our pages.


Samantha tells her story about the emotional abuse she experienced from her partner during college. This relationship began when she was 18, and she experienced verbal and emotional abuse. Emotional abuse can leave scars that take longer to heal than physical abuse, just because you are not being hurt physically doesn’t mean you should accept any other form of abuse.

Warning Signs of SAMANTHA’S STORY's case

  • His anger and jealousy; accusing her of wanting to have an affair if she dressed nice.

  • Samantha changing her appearance.

  • Samantha becoming withdrawn, thinking it was easier to be quiet then cause an argument.

  • Samantha becoming isolated from her friends.

  • Constant arguments and insults.

  • Samantha being made to feel “crazy” and “invisible.

People who could have seen SAMANTHA

Would you have seen Samantha? Does her story seem familiar to you? Is there a relationship you’ve seen that you think you need to act on? Find out how to approach YOUNG PEOPLE on the other pages. What advice and information can you give? There are agencies you can turn to for support.


James talks about how he experienced relationship abuse when he started university aged 18. He gives the male perspective which is sometimes over looked due to people stereotyping. Listen to his story. Is there anything you need to act on in your relationship?

Warning Signs of JAMES’ STORY's case

  • James not being allowed out to socialise.

  • The insults and verbal abuse.

  • His partner not taking responsibility for their actions; “always had an excuse”.

  • The physical abuse which escalated.

  • The sexual abuse; “mithering [constantly asking] me for sex”.

People who could have seen JAMES

Would you notice a male experiencing abuse like James? Would he be someone you’d be comfortable approaching and offering support? If yes, read the guidance pages on talking to young people. If not, read the help and support page to find out about local numbers you could call to ask for advice.


Josie tells her story of the boyfriend she met in high school, aged 16. When they started college things started to change; her boyfriend started to isolate her by talking about her friends. He became more angry and scary. This might help you spot the beginnings of abuse.

Warning Signs of JOSIE’S STORY's case

  • Trying to turn her against her friend, isolating her

  • His anger during arguments

  • The insults, put downs, and verbal abuse.

  • Josie felt scared; no one should be afraid or worried in their relationship.

People who could have seen JOSIE

Josie like many others became isolated and didn’t know who to turn to; could you have met Josie and offered her support? It’s time to talk, it’s time to act! Find more information on speaking to YOUNG PEOPLE on this site, ways to set up time to talk, and useful numbers you can pass on.

Rebekah, 14, her story…

Abuse: From the age of 4 I was sexually abused by my step-dad.  I assumed that this was just something that happened at first as it wasn’t talked about at home. I didn’t think my family was different to anyone else’s until I started to spend time at friends’ houses during high school when I was 12. I would go round for sleepovers and their dads didn’t act like my step dad. I was too scared to talk to mum about it as I didn’t know what she would say. I didn’t know who to trust.

Speaking out: I began to self-harm as a way to cope and eventually a teacher in my second year of high school noticed my scars and asked me if I was okay. I couldn’t hold it in any longer. I think deep down I had been waiting for someone, anyone, to ask me his question for such a long time.  I told her all about my step dad. My teacher was really supportive and explained she needed to get me some help so she called the police and social services and waited with me until they got to the school. It was a really hard time for me, having to meet so many different people and talking for the first time about everything that happened. Mum was really shocked and upset at first but she stopped all contact with my step dad and we have been a lot closer since I spoke out about it.

Support:The social worker then put me in touch with the local rape and sexual abuse support centre. I was introduced to a lady who was there to support me through the police investigation involving my step dad. I was really nervous at first to meet her. I wasn’t sure what I could talk to her about. When we first met, the worker explained that she was there to support me through the police investigation and to help me to make choices and understand what would happen along the way.

During support sessions with my worker, I felt I had someone that really listened to what I had to say. I ended up having to go to court to give evidence against my step dad and my worker was there to support me throughout the whole process. She took me for a tour around the court a few days before so it didn’t seem as scary and she also explained the different ways that I could give evidence so I didn’t have to be in the court room. I could talk to her about any worries I had throughout the whole process and she made me feel so prepared. At the end of the trial, my step dad was found guilty and sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Moving forward: It’s one year on from when I first spoke about what happened and I’m starting to feel positive about the future. My worker introduced me to a counsellor at the rape support centre who was able to help me to accept that what happened wasn’t my fault and that things will get better in time. I’m working towards my GCSE’s and love being able to have friends over to my house now!

For anyone living with abuse at home I’d say the most important thing is to talk to someone and know that support is out there for you… You are not alone!


ACT ON IT would like to thank Rebekah for sharing her story, and the Rape and Sexual Support Centre for supporting this. Go to the help & support pages to find details about RASASC and other support options.

Colin, 17, his story…

Attack: Two years ago I was attacked walking home from my mates. I was physically and sexually assaulted in the park near where I lived. I didn’t see my attackers face as it was dark and all happened so quick. I was too embarrassed to tell my family the whole truth as I didn’t want anyone at school knowing what had happened to me – that a boy had done this to me. The police were called and I provided a statement about being beaten up but my attacker was never found.

Silenced: For a whole year I kept the fact that I was raped to myself. I wanted to forget it ever happened. I never Imagined anything like this could happen to me, I was really confident in school, had lots of friends and played rugby for my school so I thought I was pretty tough.

I had a lot of problems with school while this was going on. I stopped caring about school work and missed loads of lessons. I was getting really angry, I wanted teachers to know why I wasn’t coping at school and mum and dad to know why I was so moody at home. I needed to talk to someone that didn’t know me but knew what I was going through. I found the number for my local rape support centre on the rape crisis website. This was the start of a massive change for me.

Support:The lady on the telephone took some details from me and made sure I was safe. She explained I would be meeting the Children and Young Persons Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (ISVA). The ISVA phoned me before we met to introduce herself which made me a lot less nervous about going to meet her, she explained that the first meeting was to find out how she could support me best and talk through my options. I had gotten that nervous before the day I was due to meet my worker that I ended up telling mum the night before. Mum was upset that I had kept this to myself for so long but was really supportive and came with me to meet my ISVA.

My ISVA talked me through all the different options available and made me feel in control over what I wanted to happen. I did not want to go through another police investigation, I just wanted to be able to move on. My ISVA was really supportive and helped me to make an anonymous report to the police. I gave information on where and when the attack happened without leaving my name, that way I was able to provide the police with as much information as I knew without having to go through another investigation.

Moving Forward: The most important part for me was that my worker helped me to get the support I needed at college. My teachers are now aware of what happened and I am able to re take the exams I missed last year. I have also started counselling at the rape support centre which has helped me to slowly come to terms with what happened and understand the emotions I have gone through since the attack. I am still working on being confident walking outside again but, after speaking up and getting all the support, I am finally starting to feel like myself again – I am looking forward to going to University and hopefully playing rugby for league there


ACT ON IT would like to thank Colin for sharing his17 story, and the Rape and Sexual Support Centre for supporting this. Go to the help & support pages to find details about RASASC and other support options.