Her Majesty The Queen meets with SafeLives’ Changemakers

Her Majesty welcomes the SafeLives Changemakers to Buckingham Palace for a discussion on championing the voices of young people, in the mission to end domestic abuse.

Today, four pioneering young women from the charity SafeLives, met with Her Majesty The Queen to discuss working together to improve the response to young people experiencing domestic abuse. ‘Changemakers’ – a group of young people aged 13-20, who guide SafeLives’ response to issues facing young people  – joined Her Majesty for a conversation on their latest work, initiatives and ideas in the Music Room at Buckingham Palace.

As a long-standing advocate for domestic abuse victims and survivors, Her Majesty was keen to understand what is needed to prevent young people from being harmed or harming others. Today’s meeting with The Queen gave the Changemakers an important opportunity to share their vision for the future, with a particular focus on the power of young people’s authentic voice, promoting healthy relationships and tailored responses for young people.

SafeLives research suggests that young people aged 13-17 experience some of the highest rates of domestic abuse. 78% of children living with domestic abuse are directly harmed by the perpetrator1SafeLives. (2023). Marac national dataset, SafeLives: Bristol. – children are victims in their own right. As part of SafeLives’ mission to end domestic abuse for everyone, the ‘Safe Young Lives’ programme empowers Changemakers to use their voices, insight and experience to shape research, campaigns and services for young people impacted by domestic abuse.

The power of young peoples’ voice

Her Majesty’s relationship with SafeLives Changemakers has developed over a number of years. In 2022, Changemakers attended a reception at Buckingham Palace to raise awareness of violence against women and girls, sharing their thoughts on the challenges young people face and providing an alternative insight to gender-based violence. In March 2024, Changemakers attended the Women of the World festival reception at Buckingham Palace to celebrate International Women’s Day.

The Changemaker’s dedication to ending domestic abuse has seen the group involved in an array of projects, including addressing harmful and toxic behaviours in early relationships, researching what causes young people to display abusive behaviours, shaping the national RSE curriculum, and redefining young people’s relationship to the police.

Too often young people are made to feel that their voice is not important because they are too naive or inexperienced, but working with Changemakers has shown me that a young person’s voice can be one of the most powerful tools to inspire change. I am thankful so far for my journey with Changemakers and hope to continue this work with even more young people to end domestic abuse for everyone, for good.

- SafeLives Changemaker

Reflecting on the significance of the meeting, Ellen Miller, CEO at SafeLives said:

The impact of Her Majesty championing young voices cannot be underestimated. At SafeLives, we put real life experiences at the heart of what we do. In giving our Changemakers the opportunity to speak directly and honestly about their experiences and views, Her Majesty is showing them that they matter, and that young people form a vital part of the UK’s response to domestic abuse.

Ellen Miller, CEO SafeLives

Our research shows that children and young people are too often being let down. They want more from their relationships and sex education classes, and they are being continually missed by professionals and misunderstood by the adults around them. They rarely see themselves reflected in the domestic abuse services that exist. I know after meeting the Changemakers, Her Majesty felt energised and renewed in her commitment to stopping abuse before it starts, before it ruins lives. With The Queen’s ongoing support, our Changemakers will continue to amplify young voices and make meaningful change for the next generation.

Ellen Miller, CEO SafeLives

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