About the programme
Our programme with secondary school students is typically run with Year 8 students (aged 12-13). We unpick and discuss keeping safe around peers, strangers (both online and offline) and in relationships. The sessions are empowering, non-threatening and enjoyable for the students. We use a variety of activities and films as a stimulus for discussion. Key points covered include:
- Children’s rights, including safety, strength and freedom
- How children can get hurt – using a values exercise we look at areas of abuse, physical, emotional, verbal, cyber bullying, sexting, sexism, homophobia, racism, xenophobia, exploitation, coercion
- The legislation around sexting and consent
- Keeping safe online
- Self Defence around strangers – including a ‘safety yell’
- Misuse of power and control in relationships
- Healthy and unhealthy relationships (including child sexual exploitation)
Importantly, we give the students the language to be able to voice anything that feels unsafe and a chance to identify trusted adults and specialist agencies. Children quite often recognise when something feels not quite right, particularly as they start to move into adolescence, but they may feel unable to talk about it. This can be down to a combination of factors, including peer pressure, but sometimes it is because they are unable to explain what they mean. Giving children of this age the correct language and helping them to understand this language, in particular coercion, exploitation and consent, is key to their recognition of unsafe situations and relationships. It also reduces the stigma and embarrassment that comes with talking about relationships at this age.
Additional Information for Parents:
Understanding Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)
Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) is an illegal activity when a person under 18 is coerced into sexual activities by one or more person(s) who have deliberately targeted their youth and inexperience in order to exercise power over them.
Often the young person might not realise what is happening to them, or feel that they have no choice.
All young people are at risk. However the risk to children may be heightened if they have gone missing, in care, are having difficulties at home, are not in education, have drug or alcohol issues, learning difficulties or a disability, or have a history of abuse.
The teenage years can be difficult times of experimentation, when young people often challenge boundaries. However there are signs that you can look for that are outside of the norm for this age group’s behaviour and that might indicate a child is being exploited.
If you think a child could be in immediate danger contact your local police at once or dial 999.