'My baby helped me stop my domestic abuse'

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Chris wants to set a better example to his daughterImage source, Getty Images

Teenagers who are affected by domestic abuse need more specialist support, a charity says.

A survey by SafeLives found there are 182 professionals trained to work with victims aged under 18 in England and Wales - which it says isn't enough.

Chris, not his real name, said his daughter was what made him stop being violent in his relationship.

"You've got to break the chain otherwise it will just get carried on," he added.

Chris says his baby was there when he and his girlfriend were fighting.

One day they were arguing in the car and he drove on the wrong side of the road to deliberately scare her.

Their child was in the back seat at the time.

Chris says he is particularly ashamed of that incident.

"If she (his daughter) carried on witnessing that she would have accepted it when she was older and that's the main thing I didn't want," he told Newsbeat.

He's taken part in a 26-week course for male perpetrators.

The programme helps men talk about their behaviour, learn to deal with their anger and understand what a healthy relationship is.

"Growing up I hadn't been set the best of examples relationship-wise," he says.

"It was easy in our family to lose your temper and fly off the handle - it was a given. Everyone accepted it and you'd calm down a day later or so."

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Chris has taken part in a programme for male perpetrators

The Office for National Statistics' annual report on domestic abuse says women aged 16-19 are the most likely to become victims of domestic abuse.

Chris says setting a better example to his baby daughter for the future was what made him get help.

He told Newsbeat: "You've got to break the chain, otherwise it will just get carried on to my daughter.

"If she carried on witnessing that she would have accepted it when she was older and that's the main thing I didn't want... It would break my heart if that happened."

Media caption,
A teenage domestic abuse victim talks about her experience

The Home Office has told Newsbeat the government wants to know how it can improve the domestic abuse support that's available to under 18s.

As part of a consultation opening soon it's asked people to share their experiences of domestic abuse with them to help shape new laws to help victims.

Its minister, Victoria Atkins, told us: "We're keen to listen and see what more we can do to help young people."

The Home Office is to hold a consultation asking people to share their experiences of domestic abuse to help shape new laws to help victims.

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