Working with young people to address violence in teenage relationships

5 June

Conference Aston, Birmingham


David Stothard


June 5, 2018 - 9:30 am


June 5, 2018 - 3:45 pm


Conference Aston - Whitehall Suite, Meeting Rooms, Aston Triangle, Birmingham, B4 7ET   View map
Tender Logo


 Aggression and abuse are increasingly present in teenage relationships. Why is this? And how can professionals who work directly with young people help to ensure that violence and abuse is not seen as a normal part of relationships?

The term ‘teenage relationship’ includes couples of similar ages through to situations where a teenager is groomed by an older teenager or adult, or involved in coercive sexual relationships with teenage gangs. A significant proportion of younger teenagers may be in relationships, for example, Young teenagers’ experiences of domestic abuse, Fox et al (From Boys to Men ESRC funded project) found that 80% of a sample of 13 year olds had been in a relationship.

Safeguarding teenagers can be extremely challenging, but doing nothing is not an option. Prevention strategies – teaching young people to recognise and disengage from a harmful situation – are essential. But sometimes it can be too dangerous to say ‘no’, or the perpetrator simply doesn’t listen. Finding strategies to reduce or escape from harm, and having a trusted adult to turn to, are therefore also a priority, along with teaching potential perpetrators to treat others with respect.

Social media, texting and other communications apps, mobile phones with cameras, and internet facilities such as You Tube have transformed the backdrop to relationships. These have made pornography much more accessible to much younger people as well as allowing for the instant capture and sharing of images which can be used to coerce.

How can professionals intervene effectively? What is the right approach for a given teenage group?

Tender specialises in the use of drama and activities to introduce key messages to young people about violence in relationships. Issues like consent, boundaries, finding strategies to reduce or escape from harm, how to recognise when a relationship is abusive, and what to do about it are explored through the use of drama and participative exercises.

These exercises have been tried and tested in a range of youth settings including schools, youth centres and pupil referral units and the training will be delivered by facilitators with a wealth of experience in delivering issue based projects.

The value of arts-education is widely recognised in raising levels of self-esteem and developing team building and communication skills. Young people who engage in domestic abuse and sexual violence theatre education are more able to apply the learning to their everyday life, compared to traditional lessons.

In this workshop, Tender will:

 Explain key issues relating to abuse in teenage relationships, for example, different types of abuse, the excuses perpetrators give, and the pressures on victims to stay in abusive relationships

  • Key messages to convey to young people about appropriate behaviour in relationships
  • Explore how the activities can be applied to different ages and in a variety of youth settings, and learn effective techniques for engaging and encouraging young people to participate
  • Trouble shoot particular barriers participants have encountered when carrying out this kind of violence prevention work.

Tender will use a very practical approach during this learning day to equip participants with a clear understanding of the key issues of abuse and violence in relationships and practically examine how drama techniques can be used to engage young people in these issues.

David Stothard

David Stothard is a highly experienced drama facilitator/director, working creatively with young people of all ages and backgrounds. He has been delivering Tender’s Healthy Relationships Programme in both primary and secondary schools, as well as in a range of alternative education/out-of-school settings, for many years. In his role as National Partnership Manager, he is currently working with a number of partner organisations that deliver Tender’s work across the UK through their National Partnership Programme.

About Tender

Recognising that 16-25 year olds are at the highest risk of experiencing domestic abuse of any age group, Tender has been delivering prevention and intervention work in London since 2003. In 2012 it began working across the country through its National Partnership Programme. Tender uses drama to convey key messages, allowing participants to experience what it feels like to be in ‘someone else’s shoes’ which increases empathy and understanding and creates a platform where participants engage emotionally as well as intellectually. Tender works with children of primary and secondary school age.

Tender cites three key objectives:

  • To EDUCATE young people about violence and abuse perpetrated in relationships
  • To EXPOSE attitudes that condone and conceal domestic and sexual violence
  • To ENABLE young people to seek support and access services if they, or someone they know, is experiencing abuse

It has:

  • Worked with over 138,600 young people through intensive workshop programmes, training 29,000 as peer educators of violence prevention
  • Delivered over 1,500 projects in more than 780 schools, youth centres, Pupil Referral Units, Youth Offending Teams, special schools and specialist youth services
  • Trained 10,500 adults to equip them with the skills to understand, identify and support young people experiencing violence in their relationships

For more information see www.

Agenda (subject to change)


9.30 – 10.00     Registration and coffee

10.00                   Start of sessions

3.45                      Finish time


Key areas which will be explored


 Prevalence and severity:

What is abuse? How common is it?

A series of practical exercises to show how you can:

  • safely and positively engage young people with the issue of abuse
  • help them to identify abusive behaviours and recognise their prevalence/severity

Defining Relationships:

What do relationships mean to young people today? How do we begin to have potentially difficult and/or sensitive discussions with young people?

  • power in relationships
  • key messages about appropriate behavior
  • effective techniques for encouraging young people to participate

Early Warning Signs:

Physical violence doesn’t start at the beginning of a relationship, but there can be signs that your partner is trying to control you. What do we need to look out for? How do we spot the less ‘obvious’ signs of abuse?

Using specifically-designed resources, participants will look at:

  • how they can empower young people to identify and unpick the early warning signs of an abusive relationship
  • extension activities that address how these early warning signs can escalate

Excuses/Barriers to leaving:

Perpetrators often offer excuses for being abusive in a relationship and try to shift the blame to the victim or generate sympathy to keep the relationship going.

Participants will engage in practical strategies that:

  • unpick and/or challenge common excuses from perpetrators
  • explore the barriers to leaving an abusive relationship.
  • referring to the 5 types of abuse, identify issues and/or feelings that are particularly relevant to young people
  • highlight drama games and exercises which explore the dynamics of power & control    


How do young people respond to the issue of abusive relationships, and how do we deal with challenging statements?

  • explore challenging behaviours, attitudes and responses
  • helpful strategies to safely address a range of challenging attitudes and barriers to participation


  • identify support options available to anyone experiencing violence or abuse in a relationship
  • practical exercises that can be employed to explore the role of the friend and the best kind of support you could offer someone you know who may be in an abusive relationship



Professionals working with children and young people:

  • Primary and secondary schools
  • Pupil Referral Units
  • Virtual schools
  • Educational Psychologists
  • Further Education welfare support
  • Parent Support Workers
  • Family Support Workers
  • Domestic abuse professionals
  • Sexual assault professionals
  • Children’s social workers
  • Services working with missing children and excluded children
  • NHS safeguarding leads
  • Community based health professionals
  • Sexual health services
  • Youth offending services
  • Children’s and young people’s charities
  • Gang related projects
  • Police
  • Housing officers

£130 + VAT per place

A *team deal discount is available when you book 3 or 5 places together

*3 places (3rd place half price) £325 +VAT

*5 places  (5th place free) £520 + VAT

Please ring 0115 9163104 for further information.

The delegate rate includes an information pack, lunch and refreshments throughout the day.


Booking Terms and Conditions

Cancellations received up to and including 15th May 2018 will be refunded in full less an administration fee of 25%. Cancellations received after this date will be liable for payment in full.  Team deals are non-cancellable, but substitute delegates will be accepted.

The full invoice amount will remain payable if you fail to attend the event, however, substitute delegates will be accepted up until, and including, the day of the event.



Confirmation of booking:

Your booking will be confirmed by email where possible (and by fax or post otherwise), and you will be provided with directions to the venue and details on nearby hotel accommodation. If you do not receive such acknowledgement, please contact Central Conference Consultants Ltd on 0115 916 3104.

The training will take place in Birmingham City Centre:

Conference Aston Whitehall Suite, Meeting Rooms

Aston University,

The Aston Triangle,


B4 7ET

Venue telephone – 0121 204 4300

New Street, Snow Hill and Moor Street train stations are all within 20 minutes walk of the venue or a 5 minute taxi journey.

Car parking and direction information

Follow this link for a downloadable map, directions and car park information:

There are pay and display car parks on-site but spaces must be booked in advance – follow the link above to do this.


 There is a hotel on-site in the Aston Business School

Follow this link for costs, details of rooms and booking information: