Programme

Programme RationaleProgramme StructureWeekly OutlineThe FriendThe ControllerThe BullyThe MindmixerThe TakerThe KeeperThe CharmerHow To Spot The Controller

Programme Rationale

Escape the Trap (Teenage Relationship Abuse Programme, TRAP) has been developed in acknowledgement of the rising numbers of young people identified as being vulnerable to teenage relationship abuse. The statistics on the prevalence of teenage relationship abuse and its’ impact on the wellbeing and mental health of young people who find themselves victims of such coercion and control, do not make for happy reading.

In developing Escape the Trap, I have drawn on my experience as a therapist, clinical supervisor and trainer in the arena of domestic and sexual violence and abuse, to put together a programme, which I believe is simple, straightforward and above all accessible, in any setting with young people, whether working with groups or one to one.

It is widely accepted that domestic & sexual violence and abuse is undoubtedly a gender issue, experienced disproportionately by females. Escape the Trap is designed to support young people – particularly teenage girls who are identified as vulnerable to teenage relationship abuse, to learn about the dynamics of power & control in relationships at a much earlier stage in their experience of intimate relationships. It is my hope that through Escape the Trap, young people will begin to explore gender inequalities in our society and how such inequality impacts and shapes our beliefs and behaviour.

Exploring gender issues throughout the programme will play a huge part in the learning and understanding of domestic & sexual violence and abuse and how society re-enforces a tolerance and acceptance of relationship abuse. This learning will apply equally to the societal expectations of males and females in same sex relationship and males being abused by their female partners. It is for this reason and in recognition of young people in same sex relationships, that I refer to those attending the Escape the Trap programme as ‘young people’ or ‘group members’ rather than ‘girls’ or ‘boys’, ‘females’ or ‘males’.

It is widely understood that female and male victims of domestic abuse do not necessarily want to have the same kinds of support services. Therefore, it is essential that we remember there is not a ‘one cap fits all’ approach to working with both female and male young people who are identified as vulnerable to teenage relationship abuse and that we might consider applying the learning mindful of the needs of the young people with whom we are working.

Programme Structure

How does Escape the Trap work?

Over eight weeks the core part of the programme addresses:

  • young peoples expectations of their intimate relationships
  • the behaviours and beliefs of those who treat them badly
  • identifying the things abusive partners may say and do to them
  • the experience of coercive control & bullying
  • the switching of tactics
  • emotional abuse
  • sexual coercion and abuse
  • how this behaviour impacts the way young people might feel about themselves
  • feeling isolated and alone, guilty and to blame for what is happening to them
  • how to identify such behaviour early on in a new relationship

Escape the Trap encourages participants to consider how they interpret what is happening to them and the context of their experience and how such thinking can be re-enforced by the wider community and society at large. The programme also focuses on how being treated with respect, care and love might be experienced. The programme can be delivered in any school, youth setting, children’s centre, youth service or specialist agency by trained, experienced facilitators.

Escape the Trap is aimed primarily at 13 – 16 year olds. However, trained facilitators are also using it with 12 yr olds, teenage mothers, college students and some adults with learning difficulties or for whom English is not their first language.

There will be significant differences in the maturity and life experience of each young person doing the programme. The choice of exercises reflects this, ensuring, that as well as the core part of each weekly session, there are suggested exercises and homework, designed to illustrate the learning. Facilitators can choose exercises to meet the specific needs of the young people in their groups.

Escape the Trap is designed to work over a 1.5hr or 2hr session, as session times will vary group to group, depending on where the group is run, either in school, other youth settings or children’s centres. For example, lesson times vary from school to school, so facilitators can use their discretion in choosing which of the exercises will work best in the time they have. There are exercises to be completed each week involving working individually, in pairs or as a whole group. The programme has an accompanying workbook.

Young People’s Feedback
The programme has made me aware that anyone can be in an abusive relationship and that 80% of abused girls carry on dating their abuser. I’m not the only one who has been in that situation.
Female (15) Lighthouse Women’s Aid, Suffolk

Weekly Outline

Each week of the programme consists of:

  • Aims & Objectives
  • Discussion Based Exercises
  • Creative Activities
  • Self Reflection
  • Homework/Research
  • Outcomes
Week 1
The Friend
Week 2
The Controller
Week 3
The Bully
Week 4
The Mindmixer
Week 5
The Taker
Week 6
The Keeper
Week 7
The Charmer
Week 8
Warning Signs

 

The Friend

Objectives

  • To introduce the young people to the purpose, structure and overview of the programme.
  • To encourage a collaborative approach in developing the Group Agreement.
  • To explore and discuss what we consider our ideal partner to be like and how that compares to the ‘Friend’.

The Controller

Objectives

  • To explore our ideal partner and draw comparisons between the ‘ideal partner’ and the ‘decent human being’.
  • To explore why some young people hurt and abuse their partners.
  • To identify the tactics and behaviours used by controlling partners and the impact on us.
  • To address common myths about teenage relationship abuse.

The Bully

Objectives

  • To explore the tactics, behaviours and beliefs of a partner who uses bullying to control their partner and how bullies introduce such behaviour in the early stages of a teenage relationship.
  • To understand how bullying impacts us both emotionally and psychologically and how we interpret such feelings.
  • To examine what qualities a person might have who does not bully or use controlling behaviour in their relationships.

The Mindmixer

Objectives

  • To explore the tactics, behaviours and beliefs of a partner who ‘mindmixes’ their partner and how such behaviour in the early stages of a teenage relationship can be identified.
  • To understand how being ‘mindmixed’ impacts us both emotionally and psychologically and how we interpret such feelings.
  • To examine the qualities of a person who is supportive and treats us well in our teenage relationships.

The Taker

Objectives

  • To explore the tactics, behaviours and beliefs of a partner who tries to sexually coerce and control their partner and how such behaviour in the early stages of a teenage relationship can be identified.
  • To understand how being coerced sexually impacts us both emotionally and psychilogically and how we interpret such feelings.
  • To examine the qualities of a person who treats us well in our teenage relationships.

The Keeper

Objectives

  • To explore the tactics, behaviours and beliefs of a partner who tries to socially isolate and control their partner and how such behaviour in the early stages of a teenage relationship can be identified.
  • To understand how being socially isolated impacts on us both emotionally and psychologically and how we interpret such feelings.
  • To examine the qualities of a person who treats us well in our teenage relationships.

The Charmer

Objectives

  • To explore the tactics, behaviours and beliefs of a partner who uses charm and persuasion to control their partner and how such behaviour in the early stages of a teenage relationship can be identified.
  • To understand how being persuaded, coerced and lied to impacts us both emotionally and psyschologically and how we interpret such feelings.
  • To examine the qualitites of a person who accepts us and treats us well in our teenage relationships.

How To Spot The Controller

Objectives

  • To explore the tactics, behaviours and beliefs of the Controller in the early stages of a teenage relationship.
  • Young people will explore their options around what to do and where to get help if they find themselves in an abusive relationship.

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