Issue 10

13 Mar 24

Welcome to our tenth ALNS safeguarding bulletin where we are hoping to share with you the latest knowledge, tips, and support services for various issues in order that we can work together to keep your children safe.  Each bulletin will focus on a different area of safeguarding. 

Key focus – Child on Child Abuse  - Teenage Relationship Abuse

What is “normal”?

It is normal for teenagers to start exploring romantic and sexual relationships and most teenagers are absolutely lovely! The NSPCC say that a healthy relationship is one where your child feels safe, both parties feel and are respected, there is trust and honesty both ways along with good communication. There must be an even power balance in terms of age and they need to share an understanding of consent.

Some statistics

25% of teens report that a partner makes unwanted text or phone contact with the intention of upsetting them.

20% say a partner spread rumours about them using electronic devices

5% in recent research reported they had a partner use spyware to track their internet activity

NSPCC research found that:-

25% of girls and 17% of boys have experienced physical force in their relationship

72% of girls and 51% of boys experienced emotional abuse (mostly being checked up on or made fun of).

Overwhelming the NSPCC found that Young People keep incidents within their peer group, talking to friends rather than parents, school staff or other adults.

The Law

Teenage relationship abuse is not a term recognised in the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 or elsewhere in law ad it is not routinely recognised as a Child Protection issue.  For under 16s is it instead considered under the umbrella of “Child on Child Abuse”

Due to the sometimes sexual nature of the relationship and laws around that, the Childrens Society report (May 2020) found that young people may not be willing to disclose things to professionals and that is a barrier to getting support that adults would not face.

Things to look out for:

Your child might experience:-

  • Emotional Abuse – controlling behaviour like telling them where they can go, what they can wear, who they can be with. (In our experience, we find this to be a worryingly prevalent behaviour when we talk to students)
  • Online Abuse – especially threatening to post personal pictures (this wouldn’t be able to happen if they didn’t take any so please reinforce the law around “Youth Produced Sexual Imagery” – see bulletin number 4 (April 2022) on our website)
  • Snooping online (again we find this is common – students tell us they “have” to hand over their passwords etc – creating real problems for them later on)
  • Sexual abuse
  • Physical abuse – less common but it seems to go both ways we find.

You might notice them spending less time with friends and family or changes in behaviour and mood (more than that we see in all teenagers regularly!)

Thinking about Technology:

As you might imagine, phones play a large role here.  Students tell us they “had” to take a photo and send it to their boy or girl friend, they tell us they “have” to allow their boy or girlfriend full access to their phone, their password and to scroll through their chat history etc at any time.  This comes up frequently in conversation with us so all the usual parameters round controlling your childs access to their phone can only help.  YOU can know their passwords and snoop!  

Time away from their phone will help too – recent research tells us that 30% of dating teens, had a partner text them between 10-30 times an hour to check on them.

Talking helps – as always:

Try to be non-judgemental and listen carefully to what they are saying (easy for us to say we know).  Remembering that exploring this aspect of their lives is normal is really hard (again easy for us to say!) – it just needs to be age and developmentally appropriate for them and within a power balanced relationship.


  • If your child would like to speak to an adult – they can arrange this via their Tutor or Head of House or you are most welcome to call into the school as their parent or carer. 
  • If your child would like to speak to a peer – we have a number of Key Stage 4 students trained as anti Bullying Ambassadors, they run a Support Room in Design 2 every day in Break 1.   They also co-ordinate our confidential “worry box” which is situated outside the medical room and available for students to post concerns either for direct support or anonymously, for example, if they re worried about somebody else.
  • Prism (our LGBTQ+ support group) is on a Tuesday after school (see Mr Jarvis)


If you have any concerns you want to discuss at school please contact your child’s tutor, their Head of House or the Designated Safeguarding Lead – Mrs Holness.

Useful Resources

  • Kooth – online resource for 11- 18-year-olds for anonymous counselling, peer support via chatrooms and online advice
  • The Childrens society ( – lots of useful resources and interesting facts and figure in their report “missing the mark” (May 2020)
  • Stop Domestic Abuse Charity ( – for advice but also school can refer students for either 1:1 support or for a short course in small groups – get in touch if this might be of use.
  • NSPCC – lots of advice and guidance on child on child abuse and more specifically on teenage relationship abuse.
  • CEOP – specifically information around online exploitation so useful for thinking about “Youth Produced Sexual Imagery” – “nudes”.