Social Sense secures funding for a ground-breaking Healthy Relationships project with young LGBTQ+ groups!

Social Sense Community has secured funding for a pioneering healthy relationship programme for young LGBTQ+ groups.

On the back of a successful pilot in Salford and a recent award at the UK Public Sector Communications Awards, the Big Lottery Fund has commissioned Social Sense’s Change Up programme for a pilot study on healthy relationships and domestic abuse with LGBTQ+ teenagers.

Change Up LGBTQ LOGO-01

The study, which is due to start in September, will be delivered in Manchester and Salford by Social Sense in partnership with the University of Salford and supported by The Proud Trust.

Why was it funded?

Social Sense and the University of Salford identified a gap in healthy relationships programmes with young people which do not address LGBTQ+ youths. The shocking statistics as seen below show the vital need to discuss domestic abuse with young LGBTQ+ people:

  • 1 in 4 lesbian, gay and bisexual people will experience domestic abuse in their lives.
Donavan et al. (2006) Comparing Domestic Abuse in Same Sex and Heterosexual Relationships.
  • 80% of trans people had experienced emotional, sexual, or physical abuse from a partner or ex-partner.
The Scottish Transgender Alliance

Young LGBTQ+ people’s experience of Domestic Abuse:

  • 61% of LGBTQ+ young people have experienced some form of abuse in their families/home.
  • 79% believed that as a result of witnessing domestic abuse in the home, LGBTQ+ young people would feel less confident to ‘come-out’.
  • 52% of respondents (LGBTQ+ young people) identified having experienced some form of abusive behaviour from a partner, only 37% recognised the behaviour as abuse.
LGBT Youth Scotland, voices unheard: LGBT domestic abuse and gender-based violence. educational resource. (2014).


The project

The project aims to promote healthy (non-violent) relationships amongst LGBTQ+ teenagers in Manchester and Salford using Social Sense’s evidence based social norms approach.

The aim of this peer to peer project is to address misperceptions and educate young people about the norms surrounding healthy relationships and inspire them to display and promote resilience-building values. There is also a strong emphasis on reducing barriers to reporting through peer to peer support and greater visibility of support services.

The project will dispel social norms that apply specifically to teen relationships in the LGBTQ+ community as well as norms that are applied to heteronormative relationships. We will include, for example, issues such as the fear of ‘being outed’ as gay, lesbian, trans which can be used as a form of abuse and control.

The objectives of the project are:

  • to help young LGBTQ+ people better identify what a ‘healthy relationship’ is;
  • to address norms and dispel harmful myths surrounding LGBTQ+ relationships;
  • to promote/celebrate a relationship culture free from all forms of abuse;
  • to increase recognition of abuse behaviours/experiences and in reporting, help-seeking and victim support.

Along with young people, the University will seek the views of relevant stakeholders in order to evaluate the programme and provide a picture of the scale and nature of the problem of domestic abuse in the relationships of LGBQT+ teenagers. Social Sense and the University will work in partnership to raise the issue with practice and will influence future policy.

Reece Hobson, Programmes Manager at Social Sense believes “the Change Up programme will provide invaluable insight for LGBTQ+ teenagers, so that they can have meaningful healthy relationships. Stonewall’s research shows that 1 in 4 lesbian and bi women have experienced domestic abuse and almost half (49%) of all gay and bi men have experienced at least one incident of domestic abuse from a family member or partner since the age of 16. These statistics show a grim reality of the kind of relationships LGBTQ+ teenagers will have in the future, which shows how vitally this project is required.”

For more information on the project, please contact Reece Hobson on 0161 216 4080 or


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