My interest in domestic abuse and its prevention began a few years ago when I trained to become a listener for a suicide helpline. It wasn’t long before clear patterns began to emerge, with many different forms of abuse discussed in almost every call.
There was no hiding the pervasiveness of domestic abuse and the impact it can have on those who have experienced or witnessed it. Soon afterwards, I began volunteering with a service in Sheffield who works specifically with families, children and young people affected by domestic abuse. The services provided by this organisation, as well as many others like it, are essential for the 1.4 million women who experience domestic abuse every year. But I often found myself wondering: what if there were fewer victims?
Unfortunately, our education system is not one that prioritises the promotion of healthy relationships, with Sex and Relationship Education still excluded from our National Curriculum. This is despite overwhelming research that educating children and young people about healthy relationships is fundamental to the prevention of domestic abuse. This is where Tender comes in, working alongside young people to promote healthy relationships based on equality and respect, as well as engaging in violence prevention by provoking a reassessment of our tolerance to abuse. Tender not only educates, it also empowers, equipping young people with the skills to impart their knowledge to their peers and to mentor each other. I found this whole idea very inspiring, and applied to become an intern.
I arrived at Tender on Monday morning after a slightly manic weekend of saying goodbye to my life in Sheffield and hurriedly moving down to London. Having spent most of August travelling around China, I arrived home with itchy feet and was very eager to begin my placement. I was very excited to meet everyone, having only had contact with a couple of the team over email. I was immediately struck by how friendly and welcoming everybody was. I was shown around the office, given a desk, a resources pack and some videos, and spent the afternoon getting to grips with what Tender is really about. I found the experience very interesting and left the office with a better understanding of the organisation and the different ways in which it reaches the community. Another thing that struck me was how willing everybody was to help and to share ideas, as well as to include and incorporate my own opinions and ideas. I am looking forward to getting involved in many different areas of the organisation, especially to researching policy and campaigns, and I’m hoping that my placement will help to acquire new skills as well as to develop existing ones.
Written by Tender Intern Grace Freeman
Grace has recently moved to London to embark on an internship with Tender, having just completed her degree in History at the University of Sheffield. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, singing, and spending time with friends. She also enjoys travelling and spent part of the summer in China.