A piece in the Times:
Nursery children may be taught about healthy relationships to help them to recognise abuse under charity plans.
Glasgow Women’s Aid said that it hoped to include under-fives in a new project for teenage girls that highlights “red flags” for abuse. Such behaviour can be easier to spot in celebrity stories than real life, the charity said.
Outreach workers will go into schools to educate primary and secondary pupils about issues such as consent and coercive control. It hopes to serve nurseries with age-appropriate messages about respectful relationships and gender equality.
Ruth McMillan, an outreach worker, said: “There is a culture of young people not recognising issues are abuse and that’s what we want to address.
“We’re supporting young people who were living in families with domestic abuse, and it became very evident that they were in their own abusive relationships, from the age of 14. A lot of the language we use, such as coercive control, is not really recognised by children. They might recognise, for example, that my boyfriend does call me a bit too much or asks me what I’m wearing or asks me to take pictures.”
On the nursery plans, McMillan added: “The younger we can target children the better. There has been recognition that prevention requires early intervention.”
Marianne MacBryde, another worker for Glasgow Women’s Aid, said educating boys about healthy relationships had been a shift for the charity. “We know that not all young men are abusive [J4MB emphasis] and they can play a massive part in eradicating domestic abuse because it starts at a level of conversation, treating women unequally,” she said.
A government report published in November found that the lockdowns had triggered an “escalation of abuse for some victims” of domestic violence.
McMillan said: “We have to make sure it’s not just educated people who are talking about it, because we are still seeing people who are not able to articulate themselves.”
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