In a two-part special, Channel 4 News also highlighted that Metropolitan Police figures show the number of assaults on children under 13 by another child in London have increased by 6% over the last year. The first segment (broadcast on Thursday 16th January 2020) featured workshops facilitated by Tender to promote healthy relationships in a London secondary school.
Susie McDonald, Chief Executive of Tender, says:
“The increase in the number of children and young people reporting experiences of abuse by their peers is shocking. Sadly, through our work at Tender, we are aware that these figures are just the tip of the iceberg, as many children will not report their experiences. We work with young people to enable them to understand the range of forms abuse may take, including emotional and online and that these can have the same negative impact as physical violence. As adults, it is our responsibility, not only to protect our children from all forms of abuse, but to help them recognise unhealthy behaviour from an early age and develop the skills to have happy, healthy relationships based on equality and respect. At Tender we want to support more schools and youth settings that work with young people to reach this goal.”
Tender welcomes the Department for Education’s changes to the curriculum for Relationships Education in primary schools and Relationships and Sex Education in secondary schools. The changes to the curriculum will be made statutory in all schools in England by September 2020. While the charity recognises that the new curriculum is a positive step forward in laying a foundation for children to understand what constitutes healthy relationships, without adequate resources and support, schools will struggle to implement it.
Olivia Colman, Tender’s Patron, says:
“Whether in schools, at youth centres or out and about, all children should be safe from sexual assaults by other children. Having seen firsthand the work that Tender does with young people I believe that a vital part of keeping children safe is helping them to understand issues of empathy, respect and consent. There is no age too young to start having conversations about what makes a happy, healthy relationship.”