Women’s Aid welcomes new report from the Women and Equalities Committee
Tuesday 13th September 2016
Polly Neate, Chief Executive of Women’s Aid, said:
“We welcome the Women and Equalities Committee Report on sexual harassment and violence in schools. We particularly welcome the recommendation that sex and relationships education be made a statutory part of the national curriculum. At Women’s Aid, we know that SRE is an essential part of any strategy to prevent domestic and sexual violence. Young women aged between 16 and 24 are the most likely to experience domestic abuse, and we believe that age-appropriate SRE should be provided from the start of primary school until the end of full-time education. If we are ever to prevent domestic abuse, we must recognise that its roots are in inequality between men and women and the gender roles that are accepted and promoted everywhere we look. Violence against women and girls is rooted in misogyny; education is vital in order to unpick these attitudes and challenge our victim-blaming culture.
“Sex and relationships education can only be successful if our schools are safe for girls, free from abuse and sexual harassment – remember, if girls are not safe at school their human rights are being infringed. We must give young people the tools to recognise when abuse is happening and know where to get help. Our campaign Love Don’t Feel Bad is a useful tool for this. We also run Safer Futures, a national project that builds networks between local schools, specialist domestic abuse services and Local Authorities to ensure that healthy relationships education is delivered responsibly and effectively. In addition, our federation of around 220 local specialist domestic abuse organisations has a wealth of experience in supporting schools to deliver sex and relationships education, backed up with support for children and young people who are experiencing abuse themselves, or who live in homes where abuse is taking place. This whole-school approach is essential. We need the government to make this a national priority – and act as a matter of urgency.”