Relate offers new help for youngsters affected by domestic abuse
A new service for young people who have witnessed or experienced domestic abuse is being launched in North Yorkshire.
The service, which is free, will offer one-to-one counselling for up to 40 young people, aged between 11 and 25, each year.
Relate said it would offer the service at centres in York, Harrogate and Selby from October.
In 2010/11 there were 9,284 cases of domestic abuse reported to police in North Yorkshire.
The York & North Yorkshire Domestic Abuse Joint Co-ordinating Group estimated that only 30% of domestic abuse cases were reported to the police.
Janice Midwood, who is a counsellor with Relate in North Yorkshire, said the scheme hoped to help young people understand what was happening in their homes and avoid repeating patterns of behaviour.
She said: "We learn how to communicate in our families, with our carers and our parents. We copy that behaviour, it is unconsciously in our heads and so we just automatically do that."
Independent Domestic Abuse Services (IDAS) in York will be one of the agencies referring young people to the scheme.
Penny Smith, who works with IDAS in York, said the effects of domestic abuse on young people could be extremely destructive.
She added: "We can be looking at jealous, controlling behaviour and lots of insecurity in relationships. Getting into risky relationships, perhaps getting into relationships with people much older than themselves.
"Potential substance misuse can also be one outlet for young people and we might have anti-social behaviour and them getting involved in criminal behaviour."