Rape Crisis responds to Government consultation on Relationships & Sex Education (RSE)

12 Nov 2018

In November 2018, Rape Crisis England & Wales took the opportunity to contribute to the Government's consultation on the proposed Relationships & Sex Education (RSE), Relationships Education (RE) and Health Education (HE) Guidance for all schools in England.  

As specialists in sexual violence and abuse, and contributors to earlier consultation work carried out by the Department for Education on this issue, Rape Crisis was extremely disappointed with the draft Guidance.  

Our key criticisms are: 

1. The gendered nature of sexual violence and different forms of violence against women and girls, and their connection to inequality, are largely unacknowledged in the guidance. 

2.  The importance placed on ‘resilience’ and ‘being safe’ throughout the guidance risks putting responsibility on children and young people to prevent or stop abuse being perpetrated against them. 

3.  The importance of addressing the availability of and exposure to extreme and violent pornography, and exploring how this is located within a wider sexualised and sexist culture, is worryingly absent. 

4.  The continuous reference to flexibility around what and how the curriculum can be delivered risks contributing to further discrimination for girls. 

5.  Parents’ ability to withdraw children from sex education is deeply concerning, and negates the whole purpose of making relationships and sex education compulsory. 

6.  More depth is needed around understanding and implementing a ‘whole-school approach’, with consideration around how this is properly resourced. 

Read RCEW's full response to the Government consultation here