Prevention work takes many forms. It is central to a Whole School Approach (WSA) and integral to any Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) curriculum. Prevention is a type of ‘early intervention’ and aligns with a public health approach to ending gender-based violence (GBV), which is its primary aim. It is important to acknowledge that a lot of the young people you support will already have been affected by GBV, directly or indirectly.
Prevention should equip children and young people to:
- Develop and maintain respectful, equal relationships with their friends and peers.
- Feel confident and enabled to make positive choices for themselves.
- Know the difference between a healthy and unhealthy relationship.
- Identify the early warning signs of abuse.
- Learn about their feelings and develop coping strategies.
- Know where to go for support.
We have outlined the wider, evidence-based benefits for your school or college here. Prevention work can be taught by staff who have been trained to deliver the work, by specialist organisations, or by a combination of the two. Prevention can be delivered in different formats, including those outlined below.
Assemblies are an opportunity to reach a large number of young people at one time. It is best to teach in year groups or key stages, to ensure that the material is age-appropriate.
In secondary schools group work can be facilitated in several ways and each option has its pros and cons. It is important work is delivered to all genders and year groups – these issues affect everyone. You’ll need to consider the group’s dynamics and to think about how you can explore topics safely.
Everyone should get the opportunity to actively participate, without feeling pressured to do or say anything that makes them uncomfortable. You can encourage young people to be brave whilst also honouring their boundaries. Facilitating sessions is an opportunity to model a respectful and appropriate child-adult relationship.
You can find out more about delivering Prevention to different types of groups here.
All staff have a responsibility to keep children safe from abuse and all staff should be trained to support young people around issues relating to gender-based violence, including responding to disclosures. More information on this important aspect of Prevention work can be found here.