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Factsheet on violence against women

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Education secretary Nicky Morgan

A group of experts on preventing rape, sexual exploitation, domestic violence, pornography, FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) and other violence against girls and young women has published a new Factsheet for schools providing accurate information on these kinds of abuse and where information and advice on each can be found – and Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has endorsed it.

Education secretary Nicky Morgan
Education secretary Nicky Morgan

 The Factsheet aims to support the delivery of good quality Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) which tackles harmful attitudes and behaviours in children, especially boys, before it takes root.

Secretary of State for Education and Minister for Women and Equalities, Nicky Morgan, said: “As both Secretary of State for Education and Minister for Women I am wholly committed to tackling violence against women and girls.  Recent events have brought into sharp focus the crucial importance of teaching young people to understand the abuse women and girls can face and where they can get support.

“Ensuring young people receive good quality relationship education which teaches the importance of respect and mutual consent should be at the heart of this and the new factsheet from the End Violence Against Women Coalition helps to highlight the importance of this issue to teachers.”

The End Violence Against Women Coalition’s Prevention Network has produced the Factsheet (2) to bring together for the first time information across all forms of violence against girls and women in an accessible way for teachers – many of whom desperately want this kind of information.

It comes just shortly after an FOI request for the Independent found that police recorded more than 320 rapes in schools over a three year period and amid concerns about the impact of online pornography on boys’ attitudes.

A 2013 Ofsted report found that 40 per cent of schools in England had weak Personal Social Health and Economic (PSHE) education and that as a result pupils in these schools, “had gaps in their knowledge and skills, most commonly in the serious safeguarding areas of personal safety in relation to sex and relationships.”

EVAW has surveyed secondary schools in Thurrock and Bristol and found gaps in teaching and school policies relating to VAWG even where there is good practice too.

EVAW Coalition Director Holly Dustin said: “Savile, Rotherham and other abuse scandals have begun to expose the scale of abuse that children, especially girls, experience. They have also led to a huge rise in women and girls seeking support.

“Schools play a critical role in tackling harmful attitudes in boys and young men before they take root, and ensuring that young people get the support they need. Our new Factsheet gives teachers the basics and then signposts them on to further information and support.”

Bring back half-day closing: Experts

The extra time off for employees will reduce the burden placed on the NHS for work-related sickness, claims Professor Craig Jackson – Lecturer in Occupational Health Psychology at Birmingham City University.

“One of the issues I campaign most about as a psychologist is that of UK working hours. The UK workforce still has the highest mean number of full-time working hours of any European country. As a country we work too many hours – and we also rely on the culture of unpaid overtime and the willingness of millions of employees to work outside of the 9-5 for free, on a regular basis.

“Without the culture of unpaid overtime, many white-collar sectors would struggle to compete. Working unpaid overtime is now expected of workers in countless organisations, and technological advances facilitate this.

“It is no coincidence that the rise of email in the 1990s tied in with when the stress-epidemic began. E-technology facilitates and enables excessive working – on countless smartphones and tablets. The workplace pillow-email continues to exist.

“I have also maintained that since the trading laws were relaxed in the 1990s, millions of people in the retail sector in the UK have felt the effects of the shopping culture, and that a suitable remedy would be for companies to voluntarily bring back ‘half-day closing’ for one day each week. It would give workers a break, and allow them to do other beneficial things in their lives, and any lost ‘revenue’ that may occur as a result would easily be saved by fewer workers needing to access the NHS and their GPs for countless work-related / workload psychosocial issues such as stress.

“An interesting feature of the National Work-Life Week is the ‘Go Home on Time Day’ pledge, taking place today – Wednesday 24th September. As a token exercise it may just encourage some workers to think more carefully about what they could be doing if they were to leave work on time, which might lead to longer-term behavioural changes. Organisations will hopefully encourage their workers to take part and use it as a springboard towards more proactive activities that will increase worker satisfaction, health, and loyalty to the company.”