Youth Realities is a youth-led organisation based in Barnet that addresses teenage relationship abuse through creative education and specialist, survivor-centred support. Alongside life saving interventions, it aims to engage and empower young people to create positive change in their own lives and wider communities.
1 in 3 young people experience abuse from a partner, with 68% not receiving any support for their trauma. Youth Realities (YR) aims to:
reduce abuse within teenage relationships;
raise awareness through creative and inclusive education;
empower young people’s personal development and growth;
provide advocacy and trusted support for young survivors.
YR uses a feminist-led, intersectional model that is inclusive and centres on the safety, healing and experiences of young survivors, helping them rebuild their sense of self, resilience and empower them to move forward with their lives, free from violence and abuse. Youth Realities is based in Barnet, focusing on the pockets of poverty in the South West Localities, including Colindale and the Grahame Park Estate.
YR offers a range of provision including 1:1 support for young survivors of abuse, trauma, violence, exploitation and other adversity. It also runs a weekly dance, fitness and confidence building programme for young women aged 12-25, and a 15-week programme targeted at young men, helping them to shape themselves into happy, healthier and resilient young adults.
Of the young people supported within YR's specialist 1:1 Young Person’s Independent Domestic Violence Advocacy and Support service between August 2021-2022, all had experiences of abuse and violence, 56% had a diagnosed or symptomatic mental health challenge, 51% were care experienced, 14% were engaged with the criminal justice system, 14% have diagnosed SEN and 53% are Black or minoritised.
Youth Realities took me in and transformed my story of being a victim to being a survivor. She [my youth worker] provided me with endless life changing opportunities, using my story and educating myself on domestic abuse in order not only to help myself but others.
With support from the Foundation and others, YR seeks to sustain the increased demand for its services, working with high-need and vulnerable young people and supporting them to feel happier, healthier and safer. YR also moved premises as feedback showed some women felt increasingly unsafe when leaving its existing premises at night, due to poor street lighting. The Foundation provided support towards equipment for the new rented venue.
More recently, the Foundation supported YR to trial the extension of its ‘Deepin Dance’ provision for young women aged 17-25 in Barnet. The pilot will measure whether Youth Realities can utilise Deepin Dance as an open-access opportunity to establish a safe, voluntary and non-commitment-based space that is fun, inclusive and empowering, whilst being a successful route into further support for young survivors.