My Story Matters

My Story Matters report & associated Talk About Toxic survey report

My Story Matters is a project in collaboration with On Our Radar, Comic Relief and young people across the UK. The project used digital tools to understand and address abusive behaviour in teenage relationships. The project formed part of our Safe Young Lives programme.

There was very little research and evidence about the needs of those experiencing abuse in teenage romantic relationships. We wanted to change that.

Talk About Toxic

The Talk About Toxic survey aimed to validate what young people had already told us about their views of domestic abuse and behaviours in relationships and where they might go for help and support.


  • 51%

    most wanted support to understand what is and isn't okay

    in relationships

  • 69%

    would use the word toxic

    to describe harmful relationships

  • 66%

    would go to their best friend

    for relationship advice

  • 30%

    spoke about sexual assault

    when sharing their story with us

Draw the Line

Developed using the findings from My Story Matters, Draw the Line was a mobile website resource featuring real stories about real relationships, written by teens. The website encouraged visitors (such as other teenagers or professionals) to draw a line through each story at the point at which harmful behaviour develops. The resource aimed to encourage young people to develop awareness of when a relationship becomes harmful or unhealthy.

Key findings from My Story Matters

  • Respondents agreed that they would prefer guidance on what is and what is not OK in relationships
  • The current language used for adult domestic abuse is not relatable – instead words such as toxic and harmful should be used
  • Online and social media are not natural places for relationship advice
  • Friends and family are young people’s main support mechanism for their relationships
  • Unwanted sexual behaviour was a common feature in the stories young people shared
  • Young people are unsure how to manage boundaries around technology
  • Young people are happy to share their story, and see benefits in reading the stories of others


Sometimes I notice he manipulated me like not really obviously or anything but he'd tell me to do stuff and I felt I didn't have a choice.

Survey respondent
Play video

Watch: Discovery report launch

We launched the My Story Matters Discovery report at an event on 13 May 2021. The event covered:

  • the process of co-creating with young people
  • insight into their relationships and perceptions of abuse
  • Draw the Line
  • next steps for this work.

Download the full slide deck and Q&A.

Further research and reading

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.

Safe Young Lives report

This spotlight report focuses on the experiences of young victims of domestic abuse and makes recommendations for practitioners and policymakers.
Woman looking out over balcony

Children and young people

Find out more about Safe Young Lives our programme of work across the UK to reduce the risk experienced by young people and to improve the care pathways they can access.