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Language matters and is especially important when covering sensitive issues relating to gender-based violence (GBV). We aim to be as inclusive as possible in the wording we use and are mindful that this can change over time. We would encourage you to carefully consider the language you use in conversation with young people and to talk to them about language, its impact and influence. 

A note on language

Throughout the toolkit we use the term ‘young people’ and ‘young women’. We use ‘young people’ to be inclusive of non-binary and gender non-conforming young people. We use the term ‘young women’ when we are referring specifically to the experience of young women. By young women we mean all self-identifying young women, including transgender young women. We acknowledge that young women experience disproportionate levels of GBV compared to young men. 

When we refer to young people we mean those aged 11-18 years old. We recognise that young people aged 18 and under are also children. Throughout this toolkit the word ‘children’ is mostly used to describe primary-school aged children (5-11 years old). 

The toolkit is intended for use in a range of educational settings, including schools and colleges. We might sometimes refer to ‘schools’ whilst also meaning colleges. 

We use the term ‘victim’ or ‘survivor’ interchangeably to refer to someone who has been or is being abused or subjected to violence. 

We use the term ‘Relationships and Sex Education’ to describe the subject area, aligning with policy in England. It is worth noting that internationally there has been a move away from the biological and reproductive focus that ‘sex education’ implies towards the term ‘sexuality education’, which provides a more ‘holistic framework’. 

You can find definitions for words used throughout the toolkit the glossary.