Healthy Relationships

A healthy relationship is one where you feel loved, safe, respected and free to be yourself. Not all relationships are healthy. Some relationships are abusive. It is important to remember that:

  • Abuse in a relationship can happen to anyone.
  • It's NEVER ok.
  • It can destroy your self-confidence, have a negative impact on your health and wellbeing and leave you feeling isolated and lonely.

To spot the signs of an abusive relationship and to find out if your partner treats you with the respect you deserve, follow this link to the ’Disrespect Nobody’ website.

Using violence and intimidation to control your partner is NEVER ok. If you are worried that you may be abusive towards your partner then follow this link for advice on how to stop yourself.

What is Exploitation?

Sometime abuse and exploitation in a relationship can be hard to recognise because you believe you are in a good relationship, this could be with a boyfriend/girlfriend, a friend, a group of friends, or someone you have met online. This person probably pays you a lot of attention and makes you feel special.

But, whoever it is if they want to abuse your trust in them they will use clever ways to take advantage of your relationship and you may not realise this until you have suffered harm.

These are some of the warning signs of sexual exploitation that you should be aware of.

Someone might give you:

  • Money;
  • Gifts - such as a mobile phone, clothing or jewellery;
  • Alcohol;
  • Drugs;
  • A place to stay;
  • Access to parties.

Usually in return for:

  • Having sex with them, or a friend of theirs;
  • Doing something sexual to them;
  • Being touched inappropriately, in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable;
  • Making you look at sexual images;
  • Watching them do something sexual.

Over time they may become controlling and violent towards you, use threats and/or isolate you from your family and friends.

Use Barnardo’s top three tips to keep yourself safe from exploitation:

  1. Trust yourself to know when something is wrong. If someone makes you feel unsafe, pressured or frightened, follow your instincts and seek help.
  2. Don’t trust people you don’t know, even if they seem friendly - and make sure you know who you are talking to online. Never give away personal details or agree to meet someone who you have only talked to online.
  3. Don’t be tricked into doing things that are unsafe, even if they seem like fun. What might look exciting at first could be more dangerous than you realise.

Relevant Documents and Links:

  • Sexual Exploitation - Three top tips to keep safe (PDF).
  • The Hideout - Women's Aid have created this space to help children and young people to understand domestic abuse, and how to take positive action.
  • FRANK – Friendly, confidential drugs advice.
  • Tell Someone - A campaign to raise awareness of child sexual exploitation in Shropshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Telford & Wrekin.