Children and Young People learn

Why do children and young people need to learn about Violence Against Women and Girls?

In 2012, the PSHE Association noted that: “young people are not passive consumers they need support to develop their critical understanding of the things they might be exposed to, or are seeking out”. It is clear that young people are keen to talk about violence against women and girls and related abusive teenage relationships issues, and practitioners working with young people in both formal and informal educational settings are in a key position to facilitate this work in a safe, responsive and appropriate way.

Children and young people do not have a good understanding of Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG). There is a lack of knowledge of what it is and how to stop it. There is also a lack of awareness of how to access support services.

Children and young people are at a stage in their life where they are figuring out who they are and how they relate to other people. This is a key time to facilitate conversations about relationships, abuse, responsibility and respect.

Prevention education can not only stop violence against women and girls but also ensure that children and young people who are at risk of violence access the support that they need.

Children and young people want to learn about VAWG:

Children and young people want to learn about sex, relationships, respect and abuse. They do not want to live in a world where there is violence against women and girls. Children and young people recognise that they are not given sufficient education on the things they want to learn about. In one UK survey in 2007 by the UK Youth Parliament of over 20,000 young people aged under 18:

  • 40 percent thought the SRE they had received was either poor or very poor
  • 61 percent of boys and 70 percent of girls reported not having any information about personal relationships at school
  • 73 percent felt that SRE should be taught before the age of 13.

Read more about the case for Sex and Relationships Education in this briefing.

This section:

This section looks at how to deliver a programme of learning to children and young people, with guidance and useful tools on:

Working with difference ages

Working with different groups of children and young people

Delivering safe sessions for children and young people

Developing a programme of activities

You can also look at the resource database to search for relevant, age-appropriate and active learning materials.

Top Tips for delivering activities for children and young people:

  1. Make it relevant: Understand the needs of the children and young people. Think about their age, development stage and the context within which they live.
  2. Train yourself: Develop your own understanding of Violence Against Women and Girls and skills to facilitate activities. Do the safeguarding e-learning module so that you feel prepared to deal with disclosure.
  3. Plan activities: Do some research into activities and plan a rolling programme of activities that build the children and young people’s knowledge and skills. This will give opportunities for the children and young people to gain a deeper understanding of the issues and start to change their actions.
  4. Child protection: Read and review the child protection policy and procedure, and tell the child protection lead that you are going to do the activity so that they are ready to receive any potential disclosures.
  5. Code of Conduct: Discuss and agree a code of conduct with the group. Remember to talk about the limits to confidentiality so that the children and young people understand that you will have to inform the child protection lead if you are concerned about anything that is said.
  6. Give opt out: Give the group warning that the content of the activity might be difficult and challenging, then try to provide alternative activities for children that do not want to engage.
  7. Challenge sexism: Have a zero tolerance approach to any sexism or sexist language used in the activity. If you hear or observe any sexual bullying or harassment follow your local anti-bullying policy and ensure that it is challenged.
  8. Follow up: If you identify any warning signs or there are any disclosures or any concerns within the group then report it to the organisation’s child protection lead.
  9. Self-care: Look after yourself after the session as it can be challenging and difficult to deliver the activities and work on these subjects. Check in with your supervisor or a colleague that you trust to unwind from the activity.
  10. Comprehensive programme: make links across the institution, backing up the messages from within the education programme, in policies and in the way staff and children treat and talk to each other, and create other opportunities like assemblies and campaign events.

References:

  1. PSHE Association (2012) The role of schools in addressing the impact of pornography and sex in the media http://www.cornwallhealthyschools.org/documents/SRE_pshe_assoc_pornography.pdf
  2. UK Youth Parliament (2007) Sex Relationships Education are you getting it? http://www.ukyouthparliament.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/AreYouGettingIt.pdf