Advance, the sector-leading women’s charity, launches its campaign, #ASafePlaceToGrow to mark the United Nation’s annual 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence initiative focusing on the needs of young women and girls.
Advance is using its social media platforms to highlight the importance of safe spaces for young women and girls and will explore the importance of positive relationships with friends, family, and intimate partners.
Young women and girls are disproportionately affected by domestic abuse, and this can have a long-term impact on their self-esteem, confidence and mental health. There are few services that specifically address the unique needs of young women and girls 13 to 25 meaning they feel unsupported and unheard when they experience domestic abuse. Without specialist support the trauma that results from abuse can lead to further harm, and exploitation. Including being excluded from school or getting caught up in the criminal justice system.
Advance’s 16 Days of Activism campaign highlights the charity’s aim to encourage conversations about what positive relationships and safe spaces look like for young women and girls.
Advance leads a new programme Maia and Lift specifically designed to support young women and girls affected by domestic abuse across six London boroughs. Funded by the Mayor of London’s Violence Reduction Unit, the programme is run in partnership with Chance UK, Women’s Trust and Working Chance. It runs for one year from 2022 – 2023.
In 2020 Advance released its report A space to learn about relationships which analysed the experiences of young women supported through Advance’s services. Key findings included:
- 12 years old – the average age of first sexual experience amongst the women who participated, 16 years old – the average age of their partner
- 96% of the women had their first sexual experience (of any kind) before the age of 16
- 73% of the women began their first committed relationship before the age of 16
- 74% of the women felt they should have waited longer before having sex with anyone
- 52% of women identified ‘friends or peer group’ as the most influential factor in encouraging them to have sex
- Over 50% of the women responded that they would have liked to have known more about feelings, emotions and when they thought they were ready to begin their first sexual relationship about the difference between love and sex
Niki Scordi, CEO of Advance, said:
As most girls and young women find out about relationships and sex through their friends and school, rather than their parents and family, it is important that there are safe, young-women-specific spaces for them to learn about positive relationships and consent. And, as a society, we must ask young women and girls directly what works best for them.”
As part of Advance campaign #ASafePlaceToGrow, Advance Head of Young Women and Girls services writes on the importance of specialist gender and age specific services like Maia.
Tag us on Instagram @AdvanceCharity, using the hashtag #ASafePlaceToGrow and tell us your thoughts.
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Notes for Editors About 16 Days Of Activism against Gender-Based Violence
- The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is an annual international campaign that kicks off on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until 10 December, Human Rights Day. It was started by activists at the inaugural Women’s Global Leadership Institute in 1991 and continues to be coordinated each year by the Centre for Women’s Global Leadership.
Advance supports women and children affected by domestic abuse, helping them to be safe and take control of their lives. Advance also supports women in the criminal justice system or at risk of offending, to break the cycle of re-offending and to thrive, understanding that abuse and experience of the criminal justice system are often linked.
Advance provides holistic support for women involved in the criminal justice system who are often homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, to improve the response and access to support by statutory services and organisations.
As part of their London Whole Housing Partnership Service Advance supports women who experience domestic abuse so that they can stay safe wherever they live – whether that is in their own homes or elsewhere in the community.
Advance works in partnership with organisations and specialists in the community to secure the support women need.