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Abuse threat in dating relationships

[Posted: Mon 13/02/2012 by Niall Hunter, Editor www.irishhealth.com]

To coincide with Valentine's Day this week, Women's Aid has launched the second year of a national public awareness campaign targeting young women experiencing abuse and violence in dating relationships.

The 2in2u campaign highlights unhealthy and abusive behaviours in a relationship in the hope that young women, if informed, might get help before the relationship becomes more established, and it has become harder to leave or get support.

It also encourages young women to listen to their instincts with its message - 'If it feels wrong, it probably is.'

Margaret Martin, Director of Women's Aid, said: "the 2in2u campaign highlights the way the controlling boyfriend's attention can often be overwhelming at the early stages of the relationship, and encapsulates how it feels to be a young woman experiencing abuse.

She said Women's Aid frequently hears from women living with domestic violence that the signs that her partner was possessive and controlling were there from the start.

"But to her and those around her, it appeared like he was 'just so into her'. Several calls to the Helpline during the 2in2u campaign last year began with - 'If only I had heard that message when I started going out with him'."

Women's Aid said as well as experiencing a rise in calls from young women last year, during the 2011 campaign it experienced an increase in calls from mothers and in some case fathers of young women, where the parents were uncomfortable about the relationship and wanted to know how best to support their daughter.

Margaret Martin added: "there is a myth in society that abuse only occurs in older and more established relationships. But this is not the case. In many ‘going out' or ‘dating' relationships, abuse is already a feature but is often not recognised as such by the young woman herself, or her friends."

The website www.2in2u.ie is now also available on mobile phones to support young women and their families.

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