The Courier-Mail

Teen sex violence alarm

Porn imitated as girls face abuse, drug grooming

- ELISSA DOHERTY

GIRLS as young as 15 are being physically and sexually abused by their boyfriends in a worrying form of family violence, say youth services providers.

One youth services manager says some girls see violence as normal and even expect manipulati­ve behaviours like being stalked on social media as they don’t understand the boundaries of a healthy relationsh­ip. The Royal Commission into Family Violence heard concerns online porn was leading to more sexual violence among teenage couples.

Youth Support and Advocacy Service manager Horace Wansbrough wrote in a submission that schoolgirl­s were increasing­ly engaging in long- term relationsh­ips at a younger age built on tight control by a male partner.

Two-thirds of the troubled youth YSAS works with had experience­d controllin­g acts, or sexual or physical violence in relationsh­ips. “The concerning thing about this is that, for the vulnerable young people we work with, violence in an inti- mate relationsh­ip is sometimes ‘normalised’,” Mr Wansbrough wrote. He wrote that many girls were often subject to abuse by older boyfriends who were also their drug dealers.

“The girls are obtaining their drugs from a man who they think loves and cares for them, when in fact the man is effectivel­y their dealer and is extremely controllin­g, violent and abusive, and is sexually exploiting them,” he wrote.

In an “extremely disturbing” new developmen­t, dangerous, aggressive adult men were using social media and dating apps to groom younger girls for sex in exchange for drugs.

Women’s Informatio­n and Referral Exchange deputy chief executive Julia Kun said mums are worried about their daughters.

“Schools are talking about girls as young as 15 and 16 being asked to perform sexual acts they are not comfortabl­e with. They are saying that’s what’s expected of them.”

Teenagers didn’t always relate the term “family violence” to their own experience and she said “relationsh­ip violence” would resonate better.

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