Healthy and Respectful Relationships

Understanding about young people’s relationships will also help identify where there might be concerns or inappropriate behaviours happening.

Having an intimate relationship is part of normal adolescent development. They are important for building important skills of emotional regulation, communication skills and developing their sense of self and sexual identity.

Young people tend to go into these head-on and have quick intense relationships. This is particularly the case for young people in out of home care. Their experiences of trauma, unstable family relationships and marginalisation can put them at higher risk of getting involved in not so healthy relationships. Dating Violence, relationships with older people, extreme reactions and distress from break-ups such as thoughts of suicide.

Being interested in what is going on for them and in their relationships will be a better way of supporting them when problems may arise than discouraging relationships completely.

Some things to do:

  • Don’t dismiss distress from a break up
  • Consider how their history contributes
  • Focus on building adaptive coping strategies
  • Model and discuss healthy relationships and conflict management
  • Encourage their interest in other people and activities outside of the relationship
  • Challenge unhealthy norms that they think about themselves or others. i.e violence toward women

Consent Explained….

All involved must give consent for any sexual activity to take place.

Check out this awesome video that clearly explains consent!

Some tips:

  • You must get consent every time, even if you have had sex in the past
  • Sexual consent must be explicit
  • You cannot rely on body language
  • You should ask before you touch them and they should ask before they touch you
You have the right to change your mind at any time.

If a person is:

  • Asleep, unconscious, affected by alcohol or drugs
  • More than 2 years younger than you
  • Under the age of 12
  • Unable to understand what they are consenting to because of a psychological or physical condition

They are not able to agree to sex.

Further Resources