In the UK today, young women have the highest rates of poor mental health, with many also experiencing domestic abuse. A recent study found that girls were more than twice as likely as boys to experience mental health problems by the time they were 18. Unfortunately, it’s also the case that 1 in 4 women are victims of domestic abuse, and over 800,000 children are affected by domestic abuse. Without enough support on offer, too many young women and girls are left traumatised by their experiences of violence and abuse, which can put them at risk of further harm, abuse and exploitation. At Chance UK our goal is to provide the right support at the time that a young person needs it.
That’s why, with the support of the Mayor of London’s Violence Reduction Unit, we are launching our girls programme called LIFT, in partnership with the charity Advance. This programme will support 37 girls aged 9-13 from across London who have been affected by domestic abuse or may be vulnerable due to a range of factors. We are passionate about early support, and know how transformative it can be for children and young people. By listening and working with girls and young women, focusing on their hopes, we aim to build resilience and impact positively on their future.
Every child has the right to be protected and has the right to safe relationships but the hard reality is that not every child has a positive experience of relationships in their life. That’s why our female youth workers will work with a group of girls for 6-9 months – meeting them weekly – providing information and support on topics such as healthy relationships, the signs of domestic abuse and self-confidence. Parents will also be supported during this programme.
Experiencing abuse too often negatively impacts women and girls’ self-image, so we will also work with young women and girls to boost their trust, self-esteem and confidence through unique group sessions alongside our 1:1 mentoring. We know the value of peer-to-peer support and how life-changing it can be. These sessions will empower the girls in our programme to express themselves and discuss their experiences and emotions, including topics like consent and online harms.
Children should feel safe and be safe and not be afraid of growing up in a world that targets their gender or makes them more vulnerable. Supporting and investing in girls now will change their futures and help to reduce the numbers of young women experiencing domestic violence.
The LIFT Programme is open for referrals and we still have spaces for girls living in Tower Hamlets, Newham and Hackney. You can find more information about the LIFT Programme here.
You can head straight to our referral form here.
By Samantha Darrell