Char­ity calls for com­pul­sory sex ed­u­ca­tion lessons

South Wales Echo - - NEWS -

THE UK’s largest chil­dren’s char­ity is call­ing on the Welsh Gov­ern­ment to in­tro­duce com­pul­sory sex and relationship lessons in schools after young peo­ple said they wanted more ad­vice on stay­ing safe, par­tic­u­larly on­line.

Barnardo’s Cymru car­ried out a sur­vey among 11 to 15-year-olds which showed that three-quar­ters (74%) of those ques­tioned be­lieve they would be safer if they had age-ap­pro­pri­ate lessons in school.

The char­ity said schools need to do more to pro­tect young peo­ple from the dan­gers of on­line groom­ing and ex­ploita­tion in an in­creas­ingly com­pli­cated dig­i­tal world.

It is urg­ing the Welsh Gov­ern­ment to in­clude com­pul­sory sex and relationship ed­u­ca­tion in the cur­ricu­lum which is cur­rently be­ing up­dated.

The Welsh Gov­ern­ment stopped short of do­ing so in 2014 when sim­i­lar calls were made by char­i­ties dur­ing the progress of the Sec­ond Vi­o­lence and Do­mes­tic Abuse (Wales) Act.

The Welsh Gov­ern­ment did com­mis­sion Barnardo’s Cymru to pro­vide teacher train­ing ses­sions and ed­u­ca­tional ma­te­rial on the risks of hid­den child sex­ual ex­ploita­tion, but the char­ity said it is time to go fur­ther.

Sarah Craw­ley, di­rec­tor of Barnardo’s Cymru, said: “We are urg­ing the Welsh Gov­ern­ment to in­tro­duce com­pul­sory, age-ap­pro­pri­ate sex and relationship ed­u­ca­tion in schools, in­clud­ing safe use of dig­i­tal me­dia.

“It’s time to lis­ten to chil­dren them­selves who are telling us they lack con­fi­dence in stay­ing safe on­line and are say­ing they need help in un­der­stand­ing the risks and avoid­ing dan­ger.”

In the poll car­ried out with 1,200 chil­dren across the UK, 96% said it was im­por­tant for them to un­der­stand the dan­gers of be­ing on­line and 94% wanted to know the risks of shar­ing images of them­selves with a stranger.

The char­ity is also ask­ing MPs to de­mand changes to the Chil­dren and So­cial Work Bill when it is de­bated in the House of Com­mons to en­sure com­pul­sory sex and relationship ed­u­ca­tion is in­tro­duced in Eng­land.

A Welsh Gov­ern­ment spokesman said: “We recog­nise the crit­i­cal im­por­tance of safe­guard­ing chil­dren and young peo­ple on­line and have an ex­ten­sive on­line ed­u­ca­tion and aware­ness pro­gramme across Wales. This al­lows schools to ac­cess on­line re­sources and class­room ma­te­ri­als to support learn­ers to think crit­i­cally, be­have safely, and par­tic­i­pate re­spon­si­bly on­line.

“Sex and Relationship Ed­u­ca­tion is a part of the cur­ricu­lum in Wales. We ex­pect young peo­ple in Wales to re­ceive age ap­pro­pri­ate sex and re­la­tion­ships ed­u­ca­tion and our Sex and re­la­tion­ships ed­u­ca­tion in schools guid­ance pro­vides ad­vice about the teach­ing of all as­pects of re­la­tion­ships, sex­ual health and well-be­ing is­sues.

“En­sur­ing chil­dren and young peo­ple are healthy and con­fi­dent will also be at the heart of our new cur­ricu­lum, with health and well-be­ing be­com­ing one of the six Ar­eas of Learn­ing and Ex­pe­ri­ence from 2021.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.