Relationships

If you are in a relationship with someone, you should feel loved, safe, respected and free to be yourself.

But if the relationship leaves you feeling scared, intimidated or controlled, it’s possible you’re in an abusive relationship.

Confused about Consent?

If you are struggling to understand consent, just imagine instead of initiating sex you're making someone a cup of tea.  Watch this video to find out more:

Consent means giving permission for something to happen or agreeing to do something and being comfortable with that decision. It doesn’t matter what gender you are, or whether you’re straight, gay or bisexual, if you’re planning to do anything sexual then both of you must give consent.

Consent has to be given freely and no one can be made to consent to something. It’s not consent if someone does something because they feel like they have to. You can also never assume that someone is giving consent – you have to be sure.

Consent is an essential part of healthy relationships and it’s really important to know what it is and the many ways to spot it. Both you and the person you’re with always need to consent before sex or any intimate activity.

If you want to do something sexual with your partner, the responsibility lies with you to check for consent, not with your partner to say ‘no’ if they don’t want to.

Exploitative relationships

Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is when a young person is used by being made or tricked into doing something sexual (and that could be online) sometimes receiving something in return like love, affection, money, drugs or alcohol.

It is not OK for someone to expect you or your friends to do things you don’t want to. Listen to your instinct; if it doesn’t feel right – tell someone.

Please see the CSE leaflet below for signs, advice and who to speak to.

Top tips for young people by young people:

  • Remember that people who are nice to you or are flirty may want something in return later on. It is not always possible to trust someone completely and there may be a catch.
  • Don’t put all your trust in one person
  • Be wary! You don’t get anything for free.
  • If you are going to stay with ‘a friend of a friend’, try and stay with the friend that you know. Leave the house when they leave. Don’t stay because the other people are not your friends.
  • If you’re tempted to run away to meet someone that you’ve met online try and find out as much as possible about the person you’re going to meet – remember people are not always who they say they are. Do some research about them or go and meet them with a friend so you’re not alone and in case they have lied about their age. If you’re ever going to meet someone for the first time – make sure you take someone you trust with you.
  • Make sure you carry a phone and try and memorise a few numbers in case you lose your phone or the battery goes flat – or someone steals it.
  • Make sure you carry some change in case you need to use a phone box OR use reverse charges from a phone box – or call a free phone number.
  • Watch out for signs that other young people or adults might be risky – listen to what advice your friends give you about other people. Also remember that people don’t always look their age.
  • If you do have to stick it out in the street because it is better than going home then try and stay in public areas, don’t talk to strangers and don’t get into anyone’s cars, although it can be really difficult to follow this advice and do these things if you don’t want to be found.
  • The longer you stay away from home the more scared you are of going home. You worry that your parents or carers may be angry about what you have done. You might have turned off your phone to stop them calling you or because you don’t want the police to be able to track you if you are reported missing. …But it can be good to turn your phone on – its a way of receiving a reassuring text message from your parents or carers or someone else who understands – and that will help to stop you feeling so scared.

Support for young people:

  • Brook Advisory: provides sexual health advice in Lambeth, safe sex relationship support and 1:1 work
  • CEOP: Child Exploitation & Online Protection CentreThink U know?
  • Children’s  Society: Offers a variety of projects such as 
  • Expect Respect (St Giles): work with girls in groups and individual mentoring email info@stgilestrust.org.uk
  • FACE (Fighting Against Child Exploitation): a group of young people, male and female, who are aware of the dangers of grooming and sexual exploitation. This website was developed by them to help other young people who are vulnerable or taking risks and to let them know about the dangers out there and give information on how to keep safe.     
  • GAIA: Lambeth service that works with girls at risk of sexual harm or gender-biased violence
  • Health for Teens - a website developed especially for young people between the ages of 11 – 16 to learn about their health, lifestyle, growing up, feelings and relationships.
  • iDREAM: a community arts based programme open to young people living in Lambeth aged between 14 – 21 who are using or at risk of using cannabis or alcohol. Email simon.idreamalliance@gmail.com
  • LQBTQ+ Hubsupport and information from a range of experts to help young people on a variety of LGBTQ+ related issues.
  • Metro Centre Online: gives sexual health and emotional support for LGBTQ young people in South London email youth@metrocentreonline.org or call  020 8305 5000
  • Safer London: Pan London service to support young women to exit gang activities, or at risk of gang activity. Emphasis on CSE.
  • South Central Youth: youth club based group and 1:1 work to divert young people from gangs and crime. Offering a  healthy working relationship.
  • St Michaels fellowship: work with young parents
  • Stop CSE: provides information about Child Sexual Exploitation
  • The Well Centre: based in Streatham, provides a holistic health service for young people including counselling
  • Victim Support: have a support team for Lambeth, call 020 7801 1777. Lines are open 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday
  • WUSH (Wise Up to Sexual Harm): sexual health service and relationships, email Deborah Clarke deborah.clark@gstt.nhs.uk