Peer pressure

Peer pressure is physical, sexual, emotional or financial coercion and abuse exercised by people over others of the same age or social group.

It can take many forms include bullying, abusive relationships, violence and harmful sexual behaviour, and can happen face-to-face, online, or through other forms of communication.

Peer pressure can happen to people of all ages but particular concerns exist over young people. The desire to conform to peer influences often increases during adolescence, with the importance and social role of peer groups outstripping that of the family. Young people can be particularly vulnerable to the influence of harmful or anti-social peer groups, especially if their home and social environments are unable to counteract these peer influences.

Vulnerability to Exploitation

Peer pressure can involve encouraging people to participate in exploitative activities or behaviours. The power of the peer group can make people reluctant to tell others that they are being abused or exploited, especially if doing so could make them targets of humiliation, violence or rejection.

A significant number of sexual exploitation cases have occurred between peers aged under eighteen. Involvement in drug taking, drug trafficking and other criminal activities are, in many cases, linked to the culture and activities of particular peer groups. This includes peer groups that have the characteristics of youth gangs.