Celebrating promising practice among Welsh Women’s Aid member groups

Hafan Cymru: Spectrum

The Spectrum Project is a specialist preventative educational programme which addresses issues related to violence against women, including domestic abuse and sexual Violence in primary and secondary schools across all geographical areas of Wales.

Spectrum helps schools and their communities to embed a Whole School Approach to these issues by using a combination of strategic activities and service delivery, both face-to-face and digitally. A Whole School Approach is a comprehensive way of embedding positive messages and skills to raise awareness of, respond to, challenge and prevent violence against women, including domestic abuse and sexual violence. The Welsh Government’s ‘Good Practice Guide: A Whole Education Approach to Violence against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence’ recommends ‘adopting a whole education approach that includes preventative education within and through all parts of school and college life, and which also involves the wider community.’

The core aims of the Spectrum Project are to:

  • Facilitate schools to implement and embed a Whole School Approach to tackling violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence
  • Enable children, young people and the school community to recognise and avoid abusive relationships
  • Improve the school’s ability to identify and support at risk pupils
  • Improve the school’s ability to manage situations post-identification

Teacher feedback:

“Ma’r sesiynnau yn wych. Perthnasol, Pwrpasol ac o safon a gwell byth yn Gymraeg! Ma cymaint o waith wedi dod o’r dwy wers cawson ni ym Mis Gorffennaf, a ni dal yn mynd ati I atgoffa’r plant, bron yn ddyddiol am y materion a ddysgwyd. Diolch”

“The sessions are excellent. Relevant, purposeful and of high standard, and the best thing, being available in Welsh! We’ve done so much work since the lessons we had in July and we still regularly remind the children about the matters discussed. Thank you.”


Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) Sessions

A request was received in 2016 from the Welsh Government for Spectrum to develop and deliver sessions on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) for both primary and secondary pupils. Sessions were then created and piloted in both North and South Wales.

Primary School feedback:

“As a Rights Respecting County, Swansea has promised our pupils to protect them ‘from any activities that could harm their development’ (Article 36, UNCRC) and to enable children who have been abused  to ‘receive special help to restore their self-respect’ (Article 39, UNCRC).  In response to this issue, Hafod Primary School, in conjunction with Spectrum, Hafan Cymru and the Welsh Government participated in a pilot awareness-raising session with a group of our older female pupils.  None of our pupils at this time are believed to be at risk of FGM.  The purpose of the session was to evaluate the effectiveness of lesson materials in providing pupils with age-appropriate information around this form of abuse, and enabling children to safeguard themselves and their peers.  It is our hope that FGM awareness-raising with our pupils will result in a cultural shift, whereby individuals are empowered to come forward and receive the special help and support they need.”

Teacher feedback:

“Initially, I was unsure of the benefit of teaching children of this age about such a sensitive issue. However, given that pupils of primary school age are at risk of FGM, it is important that they are educated and informed to enable them to safeguard themselves and their friends. The girls were previously unaware of this type of abuse and they have articulated that it is important to know about these issues because children will be able to help their friends who are at risk.”