New £300K grant funding launched to empower young people to spot abuse in relationships and support their friends
Youth organisations and charities across the country are being given the opportunity to bid for grants of up to £25K to develop resources to support young people in a toxic relationship.
The initiative is part of the Your Best Friend project, a major new partnership funded by the Tampon Tax and aimed at resetting the expectations of girls, young women and non-binary young people so that they reject abusive relationships.
Our new research shows harassment and abuse is commonplace in young people's relationships – 83% of young people have experienced unwanted personal/sexual comments when chatting online. Using these research findings, young people themselves have designed a campaign to empower their peers, the ‘invisible frontline’, to support each other.
Hundreds of girls, young women, and non-binary people have spoken out about their friendships and relationships and the times they have been worried about a friend - showing they are already navigating toxic behaviour in their friendship circles and relationships. Your Best Friend research finds 71% of young people have been aware of behaviours that worry them in friends' relationships and 9 in 10 of these have actively spoken to their friend to try to help.
Young people are determined to help each other; 58% of young people saying that even fear for their own safety would not stop them speaking to their friend to help them through a toxic relationship but 83% of young people said they are worried about damaging their friendship.
“She will say things like you don't know him like I do, you're just jealous. Why can't you be happy for me?” - Young person aged 17–19.
The research also shows this invisible frontline would like further support to address a problem that is prevalent.
Young people are taking on this responsibility themselves, often without the knowledge or confidence to do so. They reported that self-doubt (45%) and not finding suitable information (60%) would definitely stop them talking to their friend about toxic or unhealthy relationships. Though 54% of young people said they would definitely seek professional support if a friend's mental health was suffering, this lowered to around 20% seeking support when they see their friend being controlled, shouted at, isolated or put down.
Through the Your Best Friend project, young people are creating a campaign to reach young people where they already are, online & offline, opening their eyes to what's unhealthy and how to support each other.
To ensure the campaign reaches all those who need it, £300K worth of grants are available for grassroots and youth organisations across England and Wales to adopt campaign materials for local use, or come up with an idea of their own.
Applications are open now
- Grants up to £25K - application deadline: 18 February 2022.
- Grants for up to £10K - first round application deadline: 21 January 2022 then rolling thereafter.
Suzanne Jacob, OBE, Chief Executive of SafeLives said:
“This project has put young people in the driving seat, working alongside domestic abuse and youth work experts to create a campaign to help their peers spot red flags. We want to award these grants far and wide so that whatever a young person’s background, and wherever they turn - their community group, school, sports team, as well as online on social media, they can see the information they need to say ‘that’s not right’ and be able to help their friend, knowing when and where to get professional help.”
Laura, a young person involved in the project, said:
“It is important that groups across the country, led by young people, are able to use onward grants to keep spreading the messages from Your Best Friend... [the money could be used] to keep resources updated and contextually relevant to their locality which could increase outreach and ensure as many people as possible are able to access the resources. This could ensure more people have access to support if they or a friend experience a toxic relationship.”
Apply at www.yourbestfriend.org.uk/ from Wednesday 24 November. For more information about the grants email email@example.com or sign up to the mailing list at www.yourbestfriend.org.uk/.
Notes to editors
- For more media enquiries and interviews contact firstname.lastname@example.org
- For general enquiries about the project contact email@example.com
- Your Best Friend partnership:
- Lead: SafeLives
- Strategic partners in Wales: Llamau and Hafan Cymru
- Creative partners: The Mix and Super Being Labs
- Specialist delivery partners with expert understanding: On Our Radar, Galop, PODS, YANA, Lancashire BME Network, Muslim Youth Helpline
- Your Best Friend is funded by the DCMS Tampon Tax fund which is designed to allocate funds generated from the VAT on sanitary products to projects that improve the lives of disadvantaged women and girls.
- More quotes and details about the Your Best Friend research can be found on the website: www.yourbestfriend.org.uk
- More findings from Your Best Friend research:
- 641 young people surveyed, aged 13 - 24 years
- 71% young people have seen, or have had a friend to talk to them about behaviours that worry them in friends' relationships
- Of the YP that had seen, or had a friend talked to them about worrying behaviours 9 in 10 had talked to their friend to try to help them with a toxic or unhealthy relationship
- 83% of young people said that damaging their friendship would ‘definitely’ or ‘maybe’ stop them talking to their friend about toxic or unhealthy relationships
- 45% of young people said that self-doubt would ‘definitely’ stop them talking to their friend about toxic or unhealthy relationships.
- 22% of minoritised young people vs 11% of white British said being worried about their own safety would definitely stop them talking to a friend
- 60% of young people said that not finding suitable information would ‘definitely’ or ‘maybe’ stop them talking to their friend about toxic or unhealthy relationships
- 58% of young people said that worrying about their own safety would not stop them talking to their friend about toxic or unhealthy relationships
- 78% of young people said that fear would ‘definitely’ or ‘maybe’ stop them talking to their friend about toxic or unhealthy relationships
- The threat of physical (79%) or actual physical harm (92%) would be when young people say they would definitely seek professional support
- 64% of young people said they would definitely seek professional support if a friend was saying they were scared
- 20% of YP said they would not seek professional support if a friend was experiencing controlling behaviours / 19% of YP said they would not seek professional support if they saw a friend being shouted at, insulted or put down.
- 54% of young people said they would definitely seek professional support if a friend's mental health was suffering
- 42% of young people have ‘very often’ or ‘often’ experienced unwanted people messaging them when chatting and linking with other young people online
- 83% of young people have experienced unwanted personal/sexual comments when chatting and linking with other young people online
- 72% of young people have been asked for nudes when chatting and linking with other young people online
- 70% of young people have received unwanted sexual images/nudes when chatting and linking with other young people online
- Details about the grants:
- £300K pot to be distributed across England and Wales (200K England, 100K Wales)
- To be given to at least 40 organisations across England and Wales
- To be used to co-create resources with young people or implement existing resources, and ensure the project reaches young women in their communities.
- Can be used to support peer leadership
- To be awarded predominantly to grassroots organisations, youth organisations or movements, clubs, arts and sports groups, animators and campaigns.
- Young people are awarding the grants via 'participatory grant-making model'
- Applications open Wednesday 24 November with applications for grants up to £25K closing 18 February 2022. and the first round of grants up to £10K closing on 21 January 2022.
We are SafeLives, the UK-wide charity dedicated to ending domestic abuse, for everyone and for good.
We work with organisations across the UK to transform the response to domestic abuse. We want what you would want for your best friend. We listen to survivors, putting their voices at the heart of our thinking. We look at the whole picture for each individual and family to get the right help at the right time to make families everywhere safe and well. And we challenge perpetrators to change, asking ‘why doesn’t he stop?’ rather than ‘why doesn’t she leave?’ This applies whatever the gender of the victim or perpetrator and whatever the nature of their relationship.
Last year alone, nearly 13,500 professionals received our training. Over 70,000 adults at risk of serious harm or murder and more than 85,000 children received support through dedicated multi-agency support designed by us and delivered with partners. In the last four years, over 2,000 perpetrators have been challenged and supported to change by interventions we created with partners, and that’s just the start.
Together we can end domestic abuse, for everyone and for good.