Schools Safe 4 Girls
Sign the petition for compulsory Sex & Relationships Education in all schools
EVAW and the Everyday Sexism project are petitioning new Education Secretary Justine Greening and the Prime Minister Theresa May to make Sex and Relationships Education compulsory in all schools - so that young people are guaranteed the chance to learn about consent and respect.
Read more about our petition here.
Sign it and share it here.
EVAW Coalition welcomes new Education Secretary
The EVAW Coalition has warmly welcomed new Secretary of State for Education Justine Greening to her post and has written to her with recommendations on how schools could improve the way they detect and respond to abuse of girls.
We need a package of measures alongside SRE to make it work...
EVAW hopes that the widely held view that Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) should be compulsory in all schools is examined urgently by Justine and her colleagues in Government - so that young people are guaranteed to get age appropriate information on relationships and what is abusive, and to have the opportunity to talk about consent and respect with adults whom they trust.
EVAW and our members recommend this critical measure of compulsory SRE be delivered alongside a package of matching measures to ensure it is effective. These include:
- improved teacher training on child protection and on all forms of violence agaimst women and girls, so that teachers are more enabled to understand, to detect warning signs and to respond to individual disclosures of abuse or to abusive behaviour such as sexual harassment in the classroom; this training should be improved at initial vocational training and ongoing CPD level
- a comprehensive review of the current statutory guidance on child protection and safeguarding currently used in schools; this guidance, which all teachers and school leaders are required to read, lists many forms of gender-based violence which are very relevant in the school setting, but fails to tell readers that these are experienced very disproportionately by girls, and fails to connect this fact to detecting and responding to abuse. The EVAW Coalition has argued that this also makes it unlawful, for failing to comply with human rights and equalities law.
- improved school leadership on these issues, including clear instruction to Heads and senior leadership teams that they have specific responsibility to ensure their school works to end and prevent abuse of girls and has zero tolerance of abusive bahaviour within school; all relevant school policies, including those on behaviour, bullying and equalities, should be revised to reflect this
- encourage schools to make links with local women's support services who are the experts in violence against women and girls and can support with disclosures of abuse and work to prevent it
- involve young people and their parents; schools should be encouraged to involve young people as peer educators in this ongoing work, and to tell parents what the school approach and SRE relayted activities are.
These measures - known collectively as a "whole school approach" - are essential to making good SRE work. Young people who received several classes on SRE but then observed that sexual harassment was continuing in their school would be likely to doubt the credibility of what they had been taught.
And, teaching good SRE often leads to disclosures of abuse immediately and soon afterwards (sometimes from parents as well as from young people); if a school does not have the policies, training and confident staff in place to respond to these, more harm can be done than if the young people had not been offered the chance to talk.
EVAW and our members are campaigning for this comprehensive approach to be adopted in our schools. If you share our vision of creating school cultures where girls can work and learn in freedom and equality - watch this space for action you can take very shortly.