EVAW: Please respond to Government’s Sex & Relationships Education consultation
We are alarmed at the Government’s proposed Relationships and Sex Education guidance for schools – please tell them it’s not good enough
Please respond to the Government’s consultation on Relationships and Sex Education by Wednesday 7 November
Many of you were part of the campaign which led to the law being changed last year to make Relationships and Sex Education (‘RSE’) compulsory in all schools in England.
The Government is now consulting on Draft Guidance for all schools and is seeking responses by Wednesday 7 November.
OUR DRAFT RESPONSE IS NOW LIVE AND AVAILABLE ON OUR WEBSITE.
We are very disappointed and alarmed by this Draft Guidance. While there are some welcome changes in it – including saying there should be teaching about sexual consent, coercive control and abuse committed online – it also:
- Gives a green light to schools whose leaders choose to teach only very traditional notions of sexuality, relationships and gender norms, which lead to harmful outcomes for women and girls and LGBT people.
- It is not clear at all about equality law and rights, or about teaching the law in relation to VAWG and to LGBT equality.
- The different forms of violence against women and girls are nowhere near prominent enough, and are not connected to women’s inequality. FGM, forced marriage and so-called ‘honour-based’ violence are left as optional areas of teaching.
- It has a really worrying, repeated emphasis on teaching “virtues” including “self-control” and resisting/managing peer (sexual) pressure, which sadly read along the lines of abstinence ideas; it gives no thought to coercion and what it is like to live with ongoing abuse and harassment.
- The document is frankly squeamish about sex and sexuality, mentioning both menstruation and pornography once only each.
- It fails to make enough of the connection between teaching about abuse and schools’ child protection duties and the likelihood of disclosures.
IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT WE TELL GOVERNMENT THIS IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH.
We know that faith groups are mobilising on this issue. We need to ensure the Government also hears from the specialist violence against women and girls sector, and women’s rights advocates more broadly, that their proposed guidance is not good enough, is not what was promised, and will not significantly help to prevent violence against women and girls.
We hope that our draft response will be helpful to you in writing your own submission to the consultation. Feel free to copy and paste any of it. Please share with your networks and urge others to do the same. You can do a considered response – or just jump straight to page 2 of our document where we link to the online survey, point out the key questions to answer and suggest what to put.
THE DEADLINE IS 7 NOVEMBER 2018.
Please also let us know what you think of the consultation and of our response. We are happy to add or change our response on your advice – this is a work in progress and we will not submit it until the last minute (get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org).