News

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan backs new EVAW Schools Factsheet on VAWG

24 September 2014

Following Rotherham, research on rape and sexual harassment in schools, and increased attention to FGM & forced marriage - information to be sent to schools.

More on EVAW's campaign to make Schools Safe 4 Girls

 

A group of experts on preventing rape, sexual exploitation, domestic violence, pornography, FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) and other violence against girls and young women (1) has today published a new Factsheet for schools providing accurate information on these kinds of abuse and where information and advice on each can be found – and Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has endorsed it (below).

 

The Factsheet aims to support the delivery of good quality Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) which tackles harmful attitudes and behaviours in children, especially boys, before it takes root.

 

Secretary of State for Education and Minister for Women and Equalities, Nicky Morgan, said:

 

“As both Secretary of State for Education and Minister for Women I am wholly committed to tackling violence against women and girls.  Recent events have brought into sharp focus the crucial importance of teaching young people to understand the abuse women and girls can face and where they can get support.

 

“Ensuring young people receive good quality relationship education which teaches the importance of respect and mutual consent should be at the heart of this and the new factsheet from the End Violence Against Women Coalition helps to highlight the importance of this issue to teachers.”

 

The End Violence Against Women Coalition’s Prevention Network has produced the Factsheet (2) to bring together for the first time information across all forms of violence against girls and women in an accessible way for teachers - many of whom desperately want this kind of information.

 

It comes just shortly after an FOI request for the Independent found that police recorded more than 320 rapes in schools over a three year period and amid concerns about the impact of online pornography on boys’ attitudes (3).

 

A 2013 Ofsted report found that 40 per cent of schools in England had weak Personal Social Health and Economic (PSHE) education and that as a result pupils in these schools, “had gaps in their knowledge and skills, most commonly in the serious safeguarding areas of personal safety in relation to sex and relationships.”(4)

 

EVAW has surveyed secondary schools in Thurrock and Bristol and found gaps in teaching and school policies relating to VAWG even where there is good practice too (5).

 

EVAW Coalition Director Holly Dustin said:

 

Savile, Rotherham and other abuse scandals have begun to expose the scale of abuse that children, especially girls, experience. They have also led to a huge rise in women and girls seeking support.

 

Schools play a critical role in tackling harmful attitudes in boys and young men before they take root, and ensuring that young people get the support they need. Our new Factsheet gives teachers the basics and then signposts them on to further information and support.”

The Factsheet is published as the EVAW Coalition and The Everyday Sexism Project launch a new campaigning petition calling for SRE as part of PSHE to be made compulsory in all schools as a key way of preventing abuse of women and girls. At present SRE is not compulsory (6). The petition is here.

 

ENDS

Notes to Editor:

  1. The EVAW Coalition runs a Prevention Network of more than 40 experts on the development of policy and practice to prevent the abuse of women and girls.
  2. Funded by Comic Relief
  3. FOI request by The Independent newspaper published 22 August 2014; see report ‘Porn is Everywhere’ by the Office of the Children’s Commissioner, 2013
  4. Ofsted survey of schools teaching of PSHE, published May 2013
  5. EVAW Coalition has surveyed teaching and school policy and practice to prevent VAWG in Thurrock: http://www.endviolenceagainstwomen.org.uk/news/107/thurrock-schools-need-to-prioritise-girls-safety and in Bristol: http://www.endviolenceagainstwomen.org.uk/news/59/bristol-schools-need-to-prioritise-girls-safety
  6. SRE is not compulsory in English schools; schools are only required by law to teach the biological basics of sexual reproduction  by age 15 and schools have disrection as to within which subject and how this is taught.

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