Your Best Friend
We know that young people often seek help from each other and online, rather than from traditional services.
Your Best Friend is a project to reach young people from every walk of life, empowering them with the knowledge and confidence to spot abuse in relationships and support their friends.
Eleven organisations with expertise spanning work with young people, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, culture and religion and digital impact, are working alongside young people to solve this problem.
We know that young people are disproportionately affected by domestic abuse. They see it at home and in their own relationships. According to the Crime Survey for England and Wales, 14% of women aged 16 to 19 reported experiencing some form of domestic abuse in the last year. This is 40% higher than the next age group (20-24)1.
We also learned in a recent project in partnership with On Our Radar, My Story Matters, that children and young people don’t identify with the term ‘domestic abuse’, do not always know what is and isn’t acceptable in their relationships, and do want help but do not always feel that services are designed with their needs in mind. The Your Best Friend project aims to address these gaps.
We want girls and young women to be confidently well informed about what’s healthy and what’s abusive, how to stay safe, how to reach safety and how to help others be safe. We want to put the power in their hands.
Your Best Friend aims to give 10,000, and ultimately over 1 million other young people the knowledge, confidence and tools to keep themselves and their friends safe in their intimate relationships. The project also aims to give at least 40 young people’s organisations, groups and networks across England and Wales grants, resources and tools to empower girls and young women, as well as supporting young people who want to step up to peer leadership to do this.
Asking for help is hard. This project aims to make it easy for girls, young women and non-binary people to find what they need in a way that suits them.
The #FriendsCanTell campaign aims to de-normalise the controlling behaviours that hundreds of young people told us are so common that they are considered normal.
It encompasses a social media campaign, on TikTok and Instagram, as well as films, a podcast, digital posters, and resources on the website, as well as dozens of grassroots projects in England and Wales, funded by the Your Best Friend Fund.
Help us reach more young people by liking, commenting, saving and sharing the posts along with the hashtag #FriendsCanTell, or visit the campaign page for more ideas on how to support the campaign, and for information for friends supporting friends.
Watch the Friends Can Tell Film, co-created with young people at Project YANA:
Peer support sessions
Young people told us they want spaces to talk to each other about toxic relationships. We've developed the Your Best Friend peer supporter packs to this end. Our hope is that young people can use them to lead peer support spaces on their own, or a youth worker can support young people to run them. Watch the webinar to learn more.
Your Best Friend research:
Hundreds of girls, young women, and non-binary people have spoken to us about friendships and relationships, and times they have been worried about a friend, via a series of focus groups and national surveys.
9 in 10 young people we surveyed had talked to a friend to try and help them with a toxic relationship but 83% said they would hold back from speaking to them if they thought it might damage the relationship.
Your Best Friend Fund
The Your Best Friend Fund has helped fund grassroots projects for women, girls and non-binary people on friendships & relationships, as part of the #FriendsCanTell campaign.
We awarded £300,000 worth of grants to grassroots and youth organisations across England and Wales to create something to help young people recognise abuse and support their friends. Young people were at the heart of the process, sitting on the panel that awards the grants.
Interested in learning more about Your Best Friend and the #FriendsCanTell campaign?
Your Best Friend Project Partners
SafeLives is the UK-wide charity dedicated to ending domestic abuse, for everyone and for good, and the lead partner in this project.
Hafan Cymru is a charitable organisation operating across Wales, providing housing and support services to vulnerable women, men and their children, particularly those escaping Domestic Abuse.
At Llamau we believe that no young person or vulnerable woman should ever have to experience homelessness. Our mission is to eradicate homelessness for young people and vulnerable women.
The Mix is the UK's leading digital charity for under 25s. The Mix provides free, confidential essential support for young people under 25 through social, web, a helpline and counselling. They are unique in reaching over 5 million young people across the UK every year through the technologies they turn to first.
Super Being Labs is a social innovation agency that supports charities across the UK with their strategic vision for, and implementation of, digital services.
Galop is a UK charity supporting LGBT+ people who've experienced hate crime, domestic abuse or sexual violence.
At a time when young Muslims are being bombarded with negative media portrayals, and an increasing number are suffering Islamophobia and discrimination, mainstream service providers are unable to meet the specific needs of young Muslims. There is an urgent need for faith and culturally sensitive support services. Muslim Youth Helpline was set up to meet this need.
At Lancashire BME Network (LBN) our mission is to ensure we are enabling communities in accessing opportunities that will allow us to strive towards a Lancashire where diverse communities can achieve equality together, through the spirit of collaboration, respect, integrity, inclusivity and empathy.
Naomi is a SafeLives Pioneer, an expert by experience, community leader and youth mentor. She designed and runs PODS, a peer-mentoring programme to protect young black men and women from abuse and violent crime.
On Our Radar is a specialist group of journalists, technologists, digital storytellers and development practitioners. We work together to tackle voicelessness, surfacing stories from unheard groups worldwide.
YANA Project delivers training and empowerment programmes for young people who have directly been affected by gang related violence, sexual grooming, exploitation, domestic violence and abuse.
The Your Best Friend project would not be possible without substantial funding from the Tampon Tax Fund.
1 Office for National Statistics (2020), Domestic abuse in England and Wales overview: November 2020. Available at: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/crimeandjustice/bulletins/domesticabuseinenglandandwalesoverview/november2020