We welcome the publication of the Home Office’s latest strategy on tackling Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG). 180,000 people completed the call for evidence that led to this document. This is unprecedented and shows quite how strongly people agree with us that enough is enough when it comes to tolerating and accepting abuse, rape, stalking, coercion and honour-based violence directed towards half of our population.
We are pleased to see ‘Prioritising Prevention’ as a key pillar of the strategy. For the Alice Ruggles Trust, educating young people about healthy relationships, consent, managing unwanted attention and handling negative emotions is vital in order to create a more respectful, safer society.
The Government rightly highlights the need to “better support teachers to deliver the recently introduced Relationships, Sex and Health education curriculum” and we look forward to seeing the detail of this as soon as possible. However, we are concerned not to see mention of any funding commitment for this work or of any explicit deadline, given that the new school year—when teachers need to be starting to deliver this curriculum—begins in just a few weeks.
The driving force behind all of our work is the need to prevent what happened to Alice happening to others. To that end we have, for example, developed freely available PSHE lessons that help secondary school students recognise and manage unhealthy relationship behaviours and unwanted attention, to recognise inappropriate behaviour, and to know when, how and where to seek support.
We look forward to the work that lies ahead and to engaging with others with a similar mission in order to ensure that our young people are equipped with these essential life skills.