Welsh Women’s Aid welcomes report on the Future of the Sex and Relationships Education Curriculum in Wales

Welsh Women’s Aid welcomes report on the Future of the Sex and Relationships Education Curriculum in Wales

Welsh Women’s Aid welcomes the publication of The Future of the Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) Curriculum in Wales: Recommendations of the Sex and Relationships Education Expert Panel.

Eleri Butler, CEO of Welsh Women’s Aid said:

“This report rightly highlights that evidence based SRE programmes play a vital role in working with children and young people, parents, carers and communities to explore the information and values about sexuality and relationships that children are already exposed to and often struggle to negotiate for themselves.”

“As this report notes, international research shows that the most effective SRE programmes are those that have a rights and gender-equity based approach. The report continues to explain that since SRE is part of the basic curriculum, the design and implementation of schools’ SRE programmes are determined by the school in line with their SRE policy. This has led to wide variation in the quantity and quality of SRE that children and young people receive, which is deeply worrying.”

“Welsh Women’s Aid strongly supports the panel’s recommendation SRE is statutory within the new curriculum for all schools, from Foundation Phase to compulsory school leaving age (3-16). This education should be age appropriate, be delivered by trained teachers and developed and delivered in partnership with specialist violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence specialist services.”

The report also recognises that a whole school approach will be more likely to change attitudes and behaviour and is the single most important element for high quality health and well-being education. Unfortunately, however, few schools are aware of the VAWDASV (Wales) Act 2015 and accompanying resources. These resources include the Welsh Government’s ‘Good Practice Guide: A Whole Education Approach to Violence against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence in Wales’, written by Welsh Women’s Aid.

This new report follows work we have done with survivors around their views on curriculum development. Survivors have told us that gender equality should be part of the school structure and that cross curriculum integration of gender equality is needed as well as school structures that promote gender equality and respect and support for children and young people in school that are impacted by VAWDASV.

Angela*, a survivor of domestic abuse said:

“I want my daughter and her friends to know. I wish I’d had more knowledge, I never saw it coming … but we just didn’t have any education, any awareness. I didn’t know there were services here to help me. This should be taught in all schools.”

Anyone affected by domestic abuse, sexual violence or any other form of violence against women in Wales can contact the Live Fear Free Helpline on 0808 80 10 800 or via its webchat provision for 24-hour, confidential information and support, and help to access local services.