WestEndExtra

The independent London newspaper

Relationship and sex education must cover wider, vital issues

10 March, 2017

• WE have come a long way since International Women’s Day was first recognised more than a century ago.

Many of the earliest battles, including the right of women to vote, obtain university degrees, and keep their jobs after they married (yes, really) are now a given.

However, stark inequalities remain.

In England and Wales alone, two women are killed every week by a current or former partner.

Research shows that half of 16 to 18 year olds wouldn’t know where to get support if they were affected by domestic abuse.

And 18 per cent did not believe that slapping counted as domestic violence.

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children found that one-third of girls in relationships aged 13 to 17 have experienced sexual violence from their boyfriends.

It is right that the government has finally made relationship and sex education in school compulsory, but it is a disgrace that it has taken them so long to act. In a world where young men and women are bombarded by unrealistic representations of sex and relationships online and in the media, it is vital that all can access comprehensive information which covers issues like consent and emotional coercion, not just contraception.

JENNETTE ARNOLD AM
Labour
London Assembly Member

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