SafeLives - New project to support young victims of domestic abuse

The majority of young women turn to their best friend for support first. (Credit-Unsplash)

Safe Lives, a charity which advocates for and supports victims of domestic abuse is partnering with eleven other charities this month, to launch the ‘Your Best Friend’ project.

This project aims to help young people who are supporting a friend experiencing domestic abuse. Finding the balance between respecting a friend's confidence and guiding them out of toxic and abusive relationships, is a difficult and complex thing to manage. Safe Lives is opening up an anonymous questionnaire to hear directly from 13-24 year old girls, women and non-binary people, about the conversations they have with their friends about relationship concerns and how they can be better supported and advised.

Domestic abuse and toxic relationships are ever present in today's media, but as a young person it can be difficult to identify the most helpful and accurate sources of information; primarily, the distinction between opinion and professional advice. As the main source of our information, it is important for media to provide realistic and helpful information for our everyday lives. This is what makes this project and our participation in it so important, as a voice is being given to the young people dealing with an issue which is too often ignored and de-valued.

Safe Lives reported that in the last year, 14% of 16 to 19 year old women reported experiencing domestic abuse and 71% say they’d go to their best friend for advice rather than to formal support services. Therefore, we must empower young people with the education, tools and confidence they need to navigate such mature and often volatile situations.

The findings of this report will not only aid the development of new and improved ways to help victims but build a stronger support system around them; it will also shine light on the complexities of modern day relationships and both the physical and mental toll that toxic relationships have on people's lives.

Hopefully participation in this questionnaire will help take a step towards ending a pandemic of domestic abuse, and provide more safe and supportive places for its victims to turn to.

To support this project and complete the survey, click here.

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