SOS – amplifying the voices of young people
What is our SOS: The Sound of Silence project, and why is it important?
SOS: The Sound of Silence is an authentic voice project working with young people so their voices can influence laws and advice for people working with children on healthy relationships.
At SafeLives, we put real life experiences at the heart of what we do. We believe that people who have been in a toxic relationship, grown up in a house with fights or seen that happen to a friend have a kind of knowledge that only comes from living through it – expertise by experience.
I want to set the record straight on young people... we are the future.
We know there are young people all over the UK who are already making change in their own communities. We truly believe that people who have lived through domestic abuse have the knowledge we need to revolutionise the way our society responds to domestic abuse so we can end it for everyone, for good.
S.O.S. is a group of approximately 10 young Changemakers who guide the overall direction of our Safe Young Lives work with young people. We also collaborate with our Changemakers on specific projects and reach out to them for consultations on areas they will have knowledge or interest in.
Impact Report - Sound of Silence: A journey of co-creation in youth-led responses to domestic abuse
The Sound of Silence (SOS) project was developed as part of a ‘Whole Picture’ approach, which seeks to end domestic abuse for all members of the family. SafeLives recognises children and young people as victims in their own right1 and has spotlighted the experience of young victims highlighting that those aged 13-17 experience some of the highest rates of domestic abuse2. Despite this, there continue to be significant gaps in the provision and accessibility of domestic abuse support for young people and young people tell us that not enough is being done to engage them meaningfully in sharing their expertise and experience to deepen understanding and drive change.
Our impact report - Sound of Silence: A journey of co-creation in youth-led responses to domestic abuse – explores how co-creation in youth-led responses to Domestic Abuse has given voice to young people who are often overlooked, ignored or silenced and shows how we engaged over 1290 young people to deepen understanding and drive change on our mission to end domestic abuse for all members of the family.
What do our Changemakers do, and what to they get in return?
Our Changemakers meet monthly to make decisions about what we should focus on in our work.
Through their role they get access to payment for the meetings they attend, mentoring opportunities with professionals in SafeLives, work experience by working on our real-life strategic planning and training on issues that are relevant to them.
…it was a real ‘pinch me’ moment. I was like, why is someone listening to me. Like, someone’s actually wanting to listen to me and what I’ve got to say – I think that was the moment where it all changed and I thought this is something I could see myself doing in the future – but also, I am making an impact here. Someone’s going to actually listen to me...
Recommendations for police
As part of the project, we run Listening Rooms with young people on topics identified by our Changemakers. The first Listening Room explored how young people felt about engaging with the police, and whether they would go to the police if they were in a toxic relationship.
We gathered all the feedback from the Listening Rooms and produced a document of recommendations.
The Power of Storytelling
We understand that young people who have experienced domestic abuse, or young people who are passionate about the domestic abuse response might not always have the practical tools they need to get started.
We’ve put together this video to help you if you want to use your voice to create change, and how to keep control of your own power while you do so.
We’d also love to hear about what you’re doing. Whether you’ve made a poster like in the video or run a bigger project, you can send us pictures and a short description to be part of our gallery. Please send your work to email@example.com Hearing about what you’ve achieved is always inspirational.
We hold training every three months and will be uploading recordings here. Our Changemakers and other young people we’re working with identify topics which are relevant to the changes they want to make and the skills they want to gain. We hope this will help you have the knowledge and skills you need to work to end domestic abuse in your communities.