News Digest 16 – 20 January

This week Equality and Human Rights Commission chair David Isaac called for sex and relationships education (SRE) in the context of PSHE.,, Caroline Lucas’ PSHE bill was briefly discussed in the House of Commons and the PSHE Association submitted evidence to the Health Committee’s inquiry on the role of education in promoting mental health and emotional wellbeing in children and young people. The Fawcett Society reported high levels of hostility towards woman and consequently called for statutory SRE and the Children’s Society drew a strong link between drug use and sexual exploitation.

EHRC Chair David Isaac calls for SRE, in context of PSHE
In an interview with PinkNews, Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) Chair David Isaac has called for PSHE education to be compulsory. Mr Isaac said “I’ve done a lot of stuff in relation to gender since I’ve been in the chair role and it’s fundamental in the way we see women in society that PSHE is compulsory part of the curriculum and for LGBT issues it is exactly the same.”

He also said that “the curriculum should deal with sex education and gender and equality issues as a part of all those subjects that are a part of PSHE.”

Caroline Lucas raises need for comprehensive, statutory PSHE in her PSHE bill
On Friday 20th of January, Caroline Lucas’ PSHE bill was meant to be discussed in the House of Commons. Unfortunately, time ran out so the debate has been postponed to the 24th of March.

Mental health inquiry
The Health Committee requested written submissions for a short inquiry examining the role of education in promoting emotional wellbeing in children and young people and preventing the development of mental health problems. The PSHE Association submitted evidence in which we outlined PSHE education’s crucial role in promoting emotional wellbeing, building resilience, establishing and protecting good mental health, and in preventing the development of mental health problems in children and young people, while making the case for statutory status in order to realise its potential.

Fawcett Society reports hostility, complacency and a blame culture against women
On 20 January, leading gender equality charity the Fawcett Society, published Sounds Familiar, a report which reveals high levels of hostility towards women. In the survey respondents were asked “if a woman goes out late at night, wearing a short skirt, gets drunk and is then the victim of a sexual assault, is she totally or partly to blame?” 38% of men and 34% women answered that she would be totally or partly to blame.

Fawcett Society Chief Executive, Sam Smethers, said: “I can think of no other crime where we are so ready to blame the victim but here women are being held responsible for the behaviour of their attacker”, adding that: “what these women called for was education not blame.  They just want things to change which is why we must have statutory age appropriate sex and relationships education across all our schools

Children’s Society findings indicate that marijuana is commonly used as a gateway to abuse
Findings by the Children’s Society on behalf of Public Health England indicate that marijuana is commonly used as a gateway to abuse. Of young people receiving specialised drug treatment, 38% have at least four problems that extend beyond drug use, such as poor mental health or sexual exploitation. The report relates drug use to sexual exploitation, stating that:

Sexual exploitation of children and young people under 18 involves exploitative situations, contexts and relationships where young people (or a third person or persons) receive ‘something’ (e.g. food, accommodation, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, affection, gifts, money) as a result of performing, and/or another or others performing on them, sexual activities.”


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