Specialist sexual violence prevention education organization, Sexual Abuse Prevention Network says it is a positive step that Ministry of Education has released updated guidelines for schools on teaching relationships education.
Network Coordinator, Fiona McNamara says: “It is excellent to see that these guidelines have been updated and that sexual violence prevention education is named as an important part of the health curriculum. The next step is for sexual violence prevention education to be made compulsory in schools, rather than an optional part of the curriculum.”
Schools should look to bring in specialist agencies to deliver the content or to assist with integrating it into lessons and to provide training to teachers. “These concepts are most effectively applied when delivered by trained educators as misinformation about sexual assault is widespread.”
“We support the recommendation in the guidelines of a whole school approach. It is important for teachers and other staff to receive specialist training so that sexual violence prevention messages are reinforced by the whole school community, not exclusively during health classes.”
Sexual Abuse Prevention Network is a collaboration of Wellington Rape Crisis, Wellington Sexual Abuse HELP Foundation and WellStop. The network delivers primary prevention programmes for rape and sexual abuse in a number of secondary schools in the Wellington Region as well as offering professional development training to professionals working with young people throughout the country.
The new guidelines can be found here.