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

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

Suzanne Jacob, OBE, Chief Executive of SafeLives

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.

Laura, a young person involved in the project

Notes to Editors

For more media enquiries and interviews contact

For general enquiries about the project contact

  • 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: 

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Your Best Friend, with logo to the left hand side.

Your Best Friend

This project aimed to educate and empower young women, girls and non-binary people with the knowledge and confidence to spot abuse in relationships and support their friends.