A recent report by the National Children’s Bureau has called for mandatory status for sex and relationships education (SRE) in all UK schools, following a youth survey which finds child safety is being ‘undermined’ by dramatic variations in what is taught.
The survey of over 2,000 11-25-year-olds shows that many young people are ‘left in the dark’ by gaps in their SRE lessons in school. Courses fail to address key societal issues such sexual abuse, female genital mutilation and sexual consent.
Additionally, figures reveal that half of those surveyed (50 per cent) do not learn how to get help if they are abused and a similar proportion (53 per cent) of respondents are not taught how to recognise signs of grooming for sexual exploitation. Worryingly, one in three youngsters (34 per cent) receive no guidance on sexual consent.
Calls led by campaigners from the Sex Education Forum, Association of Teachers and Lecturers, Dr Mary Bousted says the findings fully support the introduction of ‘mandatory and inclusive’ SRE in schools.
NetClean fully supports this view. If these stats are to be believed, then the call for mandatory status for sex and relationships education in all schools is surely prudent.
Our experience tells us that the volume of child sexual abuse (CSA) crime by far exceeds that which is reported to the police. If children are not aware of what it means to be abused and how to deal with it, how can we expect them to report it and ensure the culprit is stopped? We can’t.
We can, however, trace CSA images and people with a sexual interest in children through technology solutions, but to achieve the best results we need to work together at all levels of society.
We have a collective responsibility to do everything we can to ensure we are actively preventing these crimes from happening. That can start in the classroom, by educating our children on these very real issues.