Posted: 25 August 2015

Seriously Awkward: Jemma's story

The most vulnerable 16 and 17 year olds are falling through the cracks between childhood and adulthood, simply because of their age. Our Seriously Awkward campaign aims to change that.

Join us in calling on the Government to change the law to protect 16 and 17 year olds from abuse, harm and neglect.

A teenage girl with a racoon head.
Teenage girl outside a building.

Jemma's story

Jemma’s childhood was defined by domestic violence, her mum’s mental health problems and her dad’s alcoholism.

At 14, Jemma developed an unhealthy relationship with a 20 year old man. She regularly went missing for days at a time and was sexually exploited. She started using legal highs.

Things hit rock bottom when Jemma was 16. Still with the same ‘boyfriend’, she was now heavily dependent on drugs and was self-harming. She tried to commit suicide.

Jemma’s social worker was determined to help. Jemma received further support from a drug and alcohol service and a mental health service. She made amazing progress, starting to understand her vulnerability and how she had been exploited.

Jemma is now 18, in education, gaining confidence and no longer taking drugs. Thanks to the consistent, dedicated support when she was 16, Jemma has a bright future.

By Andy Soar

Sign our petition

Change the law to protect 16 and 17 year olds from abuse, harm and neglect. 


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Seriously Awkward: Full report

Posted: 25 June 2015


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Seriously Awkward: Katie's Story

Posted: 12 August 2015