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Teaching about domestic abuse

Personal and Social Education

Teaching about domestic abuse

Following consultation with learners, the school identified the need to raise awareness of domestic abuse and its consequences. Initially the school’s PSE coordinator worked closely with the Hafan Cymru Spectrum Project school liaison officer to jointly plan and deliver lessons across key stages 3 and 4. The school liaison officer also provided domestic abuse training for all teachers.

Following observation and co-delivery of lessons, teachers felt more confident to teach about domestic abuse as part of the planned PSE programme, in which domestic abuse and violence against women was explored within the broader context of sex and relationships education and personal safety.

Lessons in Year 7 introduced the issue of abuse through the theme of belonging, allowing learners to empathise with a boy who feels he does not belong in his new school. It encouraged them to consider the support networks that exist in their school that are able to help someone in that situation.

In Year 8 domestic abuse was introduced by initially discussing bullying and then looking at bullying within a family setting. Learners considered the acceptability of behaviour in a range of different scenarios. Conflict and the impact of aggressive, passive and assertive behaviours were explored.

In Years 9, 10 and 11 lessons focused on what young people deem acceptable and unacceptable behaviour in personal relationships. Lessons provided opportunities to explore the features of safe and potentially abusive relationships, issues of power and control, and how this can change and develop over time. Contemporary issues like sexting and consent in teenage relationships were also addressed.

All lessons encouraged discussion about how and where learners are able to access appropriate advice and support. However the learning activities were not designed to promote disclosure, but rather to discuss the issues in a safe and appropriate manner.

The school also trialled a peer education project that contributed to the community participation element of the Welsh Baccalaureate Qualification. Year 12 pupils received training from the Spectrum Project school liaison officer and they then ran PSE sessions for year 7 pupils looking at bullying, bullying within the family and identifying acceptable and unacceptable behaviour. The school also used the Year 12 peer educators to work with Year 6 pupils as part of their transition programme during the summer term.

The Spectrum Project’s school liaison officers are able to support schools bilingually across Wales. A free bilingual Spectrum Pack with age appropriate activities for learners in Years 7 to 13 is available. For more information visit www.hafancymru.co.uk

Links with the PSE framework

Key Stage 3

Skills

Learners should be given opportunities to:

  • communicate confidently personal feelings and views through a range of appropriate methods
  • negotiate behaviour in personal relationships
  • be assertive and resisting unwanted peer pressure
  • develop and use a range of strategies to manage anger and resolve conflict
  • access an appropriate range of sources for help, support and advice

Range

Learners should be given opportunities to

  • develop a positive attitude towards themselves and others

and to understand

  • the features of safe and potentially abusive relationships.

Key Stage 4

Skills

Learners should be given opportunities to

  • negotiate behaviour effectively in relationships
  • be assertive and resist unwanted peer and other influence
  • resolve conflict with a win/win solution
  • manage anger, frustration and aggressive feelings effectively.

Range

Learners should be given opportunities to

  • develop a positive attitude to personal relationships

and to understand

  • the risks involved in sexual activity including potential sexual exploitation
  • the factors that affect mental health and the ways in which emotional well-being can be fostered
  • the statutory and voluntary organisations which support health and emotional well-being.

Related Links

The PSE framework provides the foundation for a broad, balanced holistic approach to PSE.