Two years ago, we launched the Alice Ruggles Trust Relationship Safety Resource, developed in collaboration with, and quality assured by, the PSHE Association. This consisted of two lesson plans aimed at young people aged 14-16 aiming to raise their understanding of healthy and unhealthy relationship behaviours, how to manage unwanted attentions, and how to support a friend who is experiencing stalking or coercive behaviours.
The free-of-charge resources were downloaded over 6,000 times and have been rolled out systematically in schools in several counties thanks to the involvement of community police officers.
Based on feedback from 1,000 students and teachers, we have worked again with the PSHE Association to update, revise and add to our lessons to better support teachers to build the foundational life skills our young people need in order to have healthy relationships with one another.
The result is three revised and new lessons covering:
- Identifying and managing unhealthy relationship behaviours
- Recognising and managing unwanted attention
- Recognising inappropriate behaviour and seeking support
Why is this important?
Stalking is a horrific crime that affects 1 in 5 women and 1 in 10 men across the course of their lifetime. It is a psychological crime leading to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in almost 78% of victims, and, in the worst cases such as Alice’s, stalking can escalate to murder.
Concerningly, stalking is not often recognised for the serious crime that it is. In a survey of 12,000 young people aged 13-24, conducted by VICE UK, 1 in 4 of the young people did not know that stalking was a crime and an even greater number “didn’t think that attempting to contact someone [repeatedly] by any means possible counts as stalking”.
We recognise three interrelated challenges that faced Alice and young people like her:
- Stalking is prevalent and causes psychological damage and can have horrific consequences.
- Many young people lack the knowledge to recognise stalking or the tools to deal with it.
- Many young people are unaware of the risk stalking poses.
It is of key importance to raise awareness among young people of the dangers of coercive control and stalking. Not only will this help them to protect themselves; it is also the best way to produce a future where stalking is generally recognised for the extremely serious crime that it is, and so to ensure strong and sustained public support for the measures necessary to tackle and prevent it.
About the new resources
Our resources remain free to access, are quality assured, and support delivery of elements of the relationships aspect of the new statutory RSE strand of PSHE education.
We are pleased to be able to offer these resources to schools and hope that they will build confidence in our young people to recognise signs of abusive behaviour, support one another and have the confidence to seek help.