Family Lives responds to sex attack on Corfu teen

Claire Walker, Family Lives, Director of Policy said:

“This is a clear indication of sexual abuse and is a worrying trend that needs to be tackled immediately.  A clear message needs to be sent out to young people that this will not be tolerated.  Sexualised bullying can be a stepping stone to violence against women and girls in later life.   At school and on holidays when girls are groped inappropriately or receive unwanted sexual images it is worryingly often dismissed as playful behaviour when it should be seen as something much more serious.   Our Teen Boundaries division works with schools to educate children about the dangers of sexualised bullying and abuse in teenage relationships. Their work teaches children not to become victims and to feel more empowered and resilient to future bullying or sexualised violence and also aims to prevent them from becoming perpetrators or bullies. Naturally, parents worry about what their children get up to with their friends over the summer holidays.  

It’s understandable that some teenagers may want to let off steam especially those who have completed their exams. However, they still need to know the risks associated with binge drinking and to be given advice on dealing with peer pressure to get really drunk.  Young people are more likely to seek help and advice from parents who listen and are supportive, rather than those who lecture or fly off the handle.  We speak to thousands of parents and carers every year and know that issues around alcohol are a concern. The more help and information that parents and carers have to understand these issues and talk to their kids about risky behaviours, the safer their kids will be.”

To allay parental concerns, here are some Top Tips from Family Lives for talking about alcohol to your Teenagers

  • Talk openly about what you see as the potential dangers of Binge drinking - from health to safety - in a practical way so they don't tune out. 
  • Remember your own behaviour will influence them. Be honest about the reasons why you or people in general like drinking as well as the negatives of alcohol. 
  • Get the timing right. Try to find a relaxed time when you can both chat e.g. when you are giving them a lift, or watching TV rather than when they are half way out of the door or with their mates. 
  • Talk about how they may feel or what they may do under pressure - whether it is deciding what they do if they are offered a drink, or if a friend offers them a lift home after drinking
  • Research shows that unprotected and early sex is often linked to alcohol. Take time to talk about how alcohol can influence people's judgement and help them to think through how it might feel to regret   something the next day.
  • Make them aware of drinks being spiked and not putting themselves in vulnerable situations. Get them and their friends to look out for each other. 
  • Explore how alcohol affects people in different ways, and how it can make some people aggressive and up for a fight. Talk through ways of keeping safe and walking away from trouble. 
  • Ensure your teens know that no matter how angry you may be with them you are there for them, so they will call you if someone gets hurt or they are worried about something. 
  • Find out the facts. You may want to talk about different drinks and their alcoholic strength - for example Alco pops can taste just like fizzy drink and without realising it the alcohol can have a huge effect.

Read the Evening Standard's report on this incident.

Parents and carers struggling with concerns over teenagers, alcohol and drugs can call Family Lives’ Helpline on 0808 800 2222.  Alternatively you can live chat or email us.