The Girlz Only group has been awarded £120,000 by BBC Children in Need to fund a three-year project aimed at helping girls and young women who are experiencing domestic violence, either first hand, or to another member of their family.
Targeted at girls and teenagers aged between 10 and 18, the crucial service has three aims:
1. Reducing young women’s experience of abuse in their own relationships
2. Supporting young women living in a family where a parent, carer or relative is being abused
3. Enabling young survivors to find their voice, to influence policies and services relating to young people’s abusive relationships.
The service, which started in April 2015, provides practical and emotional support on a 1:1 basis; group sessions and a peer mentor system, pairing participants with other young women who have been through similar experiences; and accredited courses aimed at understanding abusive relationships, reducing repeat victimisation and raising self-esteem, confidence and aspirations.
Our Young Women’s Participation Project Worker, explains: “We know that teenage girls are most at risk of experiencing violence in their relationships and yet 81% will never get support. Young people find it difficult to define and identify signs of abuse in their relationship, and when they do seek help, they find domestic violence services are typically aimed at adult women. We also know there’s a big need to support young women in understanding and dealing with issues around abuse in parents’ or other relatives’ relationships. This service is badly needed, and we are delighted we now have the means to provide it.
She continues; “We already welcome young women to our youth club, and it was they who identified abusive relationships as an issue which was important – although they found it difficult to identify with the term ‘domestic violence’ in the context of their relationships. We have involved our youth club in the planning of this project and delivered a pilot project to youth groups over the last year, to raise awareness of the issue. This has helped us to understand young people’s perceptions and attitudes around abuse in relationships – and also how important it is to provide to support to young people experiencing abuse in other people’s relationships. We can’t wait to get going – it will make a real, tangible difference to local young people.”
One 14-year old member of the youth club agrees; “When you talk about “domestic violence” it makes me think of adults like your mum and dad - you don’t think of what is happening in yours or your friends’ relationships as “domestic violence”. There needs to be something (information or services) focused around young relationships. I think that way more people would get help”.
Councillor Mary Glew said “This is wonderful news for the women’s centre – I have supported their work for many years as I believe in the massive difference they make to the lives of local women. This new grant is well-deserved and will continue to benefit young women in East Hull in so many ways.”
Young women can self-refer to the project, and the Centre will also work with other agencies, such as social services and the school multi-agency referral team (SMART). Girlz Only is our young women’s project. We work with girls and young women from 11 to 24 to offer support in different areas of their lives.
As part of the Girlz Only work we run sessions twice weekly on Wednesdays and Thursdays 4:30-6:30. These sessions are aimed at young women aged 11-16. They are “young women led” which means young women get to decide the activities we do! Sessions include cooking, pampering, arts & crafts & dancing. Come along, make new friends and have fun!
Young Parents group
We work in partnership with little stars children’s centre to run a young parents group. This is a chance for young parents (up to the age of 21) to come along and meet other mums, whilst their children play with our toys and sensory equipment.
Awareness sessions- Abuse in Teen relationships.
We work in partnership with local schools and youth groups to deliver awareness raising sessions to young people around abuse in relationships. Through these sessions we explore positive relationships and identify signs of abuse relevant to teen and young relationships.
We run a sexual health drop in service for young people Monday to Friday 10am-4pm. Young women can access
- Advice around sex & relationships
- Advice on contraception and STIs
- Pregnancy & Chlamydia testing