Rape Crisis welcomes Government announcement on compulsory Relationships & Sex Education
Education Secretary Justine Greening today (1st March 2017) announced that Relationships & Sex Education (RSE) is to be made compulsory in all schools. This announcement comes two weeks after Rape Crisis England & Wales (RCEW) co-signed a Valentine's Day letter from the End Violence Against Women Coalition (EVAW) to the Government, calling for urgent legislation on this vital issue.
Rape Crisis England & Wales Co-Chair Dawn Thomas said:
"Rape Crisis, EVAW, and numerous partner women's groups and activists have called for compulsory education around healthy, respectful relationships for children and young people of all ages for many years.
Through our frontline specialist support work, we know the harm that sexual violence, sexual harassment and sexist bullying and abuse at school can cause and the long-term impacts it can have on the lives of girls and young women, whom it disproportionately affects.
There is ongoing confusion among people of all ages about consent in sexual relationships, and harmful myths about situations in which consent can be assumed or individuals can be held partially or wholly responsible for sexual violence perpetrated against them are still alarmingly widespread. In addressing this urgent situation, it's vital children are encouraged to discuss and develop a genuine understanding of respect and empathy in relationships from the earliest possible age.
Rape Crisis is pleased the Government has recognised that current statutory guidance is no long fit for purpose since the rapid proliferation in the last 15 years of young people's use of social media and new technologies, and their increasingly widespread access to harmful, sexist online pornography.
We wholeheartedly welcome today's announcement and sincerely hope the Government will continue to listen to experts like Rape Crisis, who've delivered high quality sexual violence prevention work to young people for many years, as it develops the new compulsory Relationships & Sex Education content."