Campaign to discuss domestic violence in schools wins MP's support

December 9, 2008 11:25 AM

A leading charity is raising the issue of domestic violence with schoolchildren in a bid to protect future generations of women.

The campaign, by Women's Aid, will bring the issue into the classroom and has won the backing of Cambridge MP David Howarth.

Every year three quarters of a million children live in fear of domestic violence, claims the charity, and yet the subject is not adequately addressed in the curriculum.

Women's Aid has worked with teachers to produce an online education toolkit, "Expect Respect" to develop age-appropriate lessons for youngsters from reception year to sixth-form.

It wants schools and teachers to promote healthy, non-violent relationships, support children to seek help and safety and help challenge and prevent abusive behaviour.

The charity has launched its campaign as part of 16 Days of Action to End Violence Against Women which runs until December 11.

"We must take action that will prevent domestic abuse in the future, by educating children and young people about healthy relationships and promoting equality and respect as well as how to get help if they are experiencing abuse," said a charity spokesman.

"However, it is not simply a case of talking about healthy relationships in one lesson, but requires a 'whole school approach'."

Mr Howarth said: "I welcome this campaign to raise the issue of domestic violence in a safe, structured learning environment.

"While this is a difficult issue to discuss with children, it is essential because the damaging effects of domestic violence can be long lasting and impact on every area of a child's life.

"By discussing domestic violence in schools, there is a chance we can protect women of the future; this initiative should be embraced by teachers and schools."

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