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  • Date: 16/10/2023

Domestic abuse specialist highlights the importance of relationship education in schools

Recent media coverage around unhealthy behaviours, consent and inappropriate behaviours has prompted a specialist at our domestic abuse champion, Glow, to highlight the importance of high-quality relationship education for children and young people.

Glow delivers support and accommodation to individuals and families impacted by abuse across Staffordshire and Derbyshire. Alongside this, the provider's dedicated education and prevention team also work with children and young people to prevent abuse from happening in the first place.

This is achieved through specialist relationship education, including their flagship programme, Relationships without Fear (RWF).

Sarah Buckley, Service Manager for Children and Young People, leads on Glow’s support for young people, including the RWF programme. She has shared her thoughts on the importance of high-quality relationship education, delivered as early as possible, particularly in the age of social media and growing online pressures.

Sarah said: “With recent news and media coverage, including last month’s Dispatches documentary, it’s more important than ever before to make sure we’re providing good quality healthy relationship education as early as possible, particularly for boys and young men.

Sarah Buckley, Service Manager for Children and Young People at Glow

“As domestic abuse professionals, working with children and young people in schools, we see how easy it can be for young people to become misinformed when it comes to the distinction between healthy and unhealthy relationships. This can result in colluding with friends and covering misogynistic comments with ‘oh it’s just banter.’ Red flags can then be ignored and the lines of consent can become blurred.

“For teenagers, it can often take confidence to call out unhealthy behaviours. Many are too scared of what their friends might say to do this, which results in dangerous behaviour that can snowball to much worse. However in order to make real change, we need to encourage them to step in and call out and challenge negative behaviours. That’s one of the things that we discuss in our sessions.”

In 2023, children and young people have access to a range of different views and opinions around relationships thanks to mainstream and social media. That’s why Glow’s education and prevention team sees relationship education as more important than ever.

Sarah continued: “Education around consent and healthy relationships is just as important as maths, English and science. These topics need to be taught as early as possible and built upon as young people get older.

“At Glow we’re really proud to be able to deliver education and prevention sessions. We’re keen to hear from schools about how we can support them to deliver this to their pupils.”

Find out more about Glow’s education and prevention work here.