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Tackling sexual harassment

3 December 2015

Social sciences grafiti wall

New Young people’s guide on safe and creative ways to promote gender equalities for respectful relationships

A Cardiff academic has launched a new project to develop a good practice guide with young people on how they can creatively and safely promote gender equalities for respectful relationships in their schools and communities as part of whole education approach to addressing violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence.

Professor Emma Renold, School of Social Sciences, launched the StARTer Project at a Welsh Government conference today (Wednesday 3rd December), addressing safeguarding in education with a focus on violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence.

Her keynote address, an exploration of sexual harassment in pre-teen relationships, was based on her ‘Girls and Boys Speak Out’ report, which was one of the catalysts for significant education amendments in the recent passing of the Violence against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (Wales) Act 2015.

Professor Renold’s presentation will be followed by the pupil-led drama “Just Good Friends?” – a script based upon the project findings where every line spoken is a direct quote from the research.

She also worked with a drama teacher and safe-guarding consultant to run conference workshops for practitioners illustrating how schools can work with students and use the arts to safely address gender-based and sexual harassment in schools.

Demonstrating the power of the arts to communicate sensitive issues, Professor Renold delivered her keynote and workshops wearing some of the artefacts produced in the ESRC/AHRC Productive Margins ‘Relationship Matters’ engagement project, including a ruler skirt and a T-Shirt with the student’s poem, “Words won’t pin me down”.

This project features as an exemplar in the new Good Practice Guide: A whole education approach to violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence.

The StARTer (Safe to Act, Right to Engage and Raise) Project is led by Professor Renold in collaboration with Welsh Women’s Aid and the NSPCC.

The project is also supported by the Office of the Children’s Commissioner for Wales and the Welsh Government.

The resulting guidance will be launched on June 23rd 2016 at the Pierhead, Cardiff Bay.

Emma Renold

Professor Renold said: “Young people are increasingly angry at having to put up with the pressure to conform to gender stereotypes, and everyday sexism and sexual harassment. However, they struggle to know what they can do to help change things.

“This is where the Young People’s Good Practice Guide will come into its own.

“An important part of developing successful preventative educational interventions is ensuring that children and young people are directly involved in their production and, where appropriate, their delivery. Any resources, strategies and practices need to connect with young people’s own realities.

“The StARTer project is an exciting and innovative initiative for Wales. Although it is early days, we are collecting and generating a range of illustrative case studies which we hope will inspire young people to raise awareness of and campaign on key issues related to gender equality and respectful relationships in their own schools and communities, from gender segregation to street harassment.”