Tender is a charity working to prevent domestic abuse and sexual violence in the lives of children and young people. Our work supports young people to build healthy relationships: preventing them from becoming victims or perpetrators of abuse and equipping them to have relationships based on equality and respect.
In primary schools, we build strong foundations through exploring healthy friendships and family relationships. We develop these skills further in secondary schools and youth settings, where we focus on healthy intimate and romantic relationships. We also provide training and resources for professionals working with young people, including whole school approaches to preventing abuse.
Our programmes are safe, enjoyable, age-appropriate spaces where young people can engage with sensitive topics and “rehearse” for real-life scenarios. Participants are encouraged to be both consumers and producers of learning through script-work, role-play and creative media such as films and art. Throughout, we enable young people to explore their choices, rights and expectations in relationships and to recognise the early warning signs of abuse.
All our projects are directly informed by young people themselves and encourage participants to become ambassadors for positive social change in their peer groups and communities. This can include creating resources, presentations or campaigns for their peers. [link to Creative Campaigns]
Evidence shows that those who engage in theatre-based education to learn about relationships are more able to apply the learning to their everyday lives, compared to traditional lessons (PEACH, 2017). It also allows for the following advantages:
Tender’s mission is informed by continued evidence that domestic and sexual violence are highly prevalent issues in young people’s lives. 16-25 year olds are widely recognised as the age group most likely to experience an abusive relationship (SafeLives, 2019) and estimated 2.4 million people aged 16-74 years in the UK suffered some form of domestic abuse between 2018-2019: 1.6 million female victims and 786,000 male victims (ONS, 2019).
Domestic abuse happens across all socio-economic groups, meaning it can be experienced by anyone. With a mandatory statutory Relationships, Sex and Health Education curriculum only just coming into play, young people aren’t receiving the consistent support they need to navigate this risk. There is therefore a vital need for age-appropriate education around these issues from an early age.