The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has today announced that a new ‘allyship training’ package will be available to every secondary school in London to educate and empower young Londoners to take a stand and help prevent violence against women and girls (VAWG).
Lessons on building healthy relationships, calling out sexism and discussions on attitudes and behaviours towards women and girls will feature in interactive workshops funded by the Mayor in the capital’s secondary schools. This ‘allyship training’ is part of the Mayor’s wide ranging public health approach to ending the epidemic of VAWG.
Today the Mayor visited Rokeby school in Newham to see first-hand how the VAWG prevention toolkit is helping boys understand why their words and attitudes towards women and girls matter.
Every single one of London’s secondary schools, colleges, community groups and faith groups will be able to access the VAWG prevention toolkit – which is now online and funded as part of Sadiq’s record investment of more than £100million* in tackling violence against women and girls.
The Mayor will also be writing to every secondary school in London to inform them about the VAWG prevention toolkit and encourage teachers to use it from today.
This is the first toolkit for schools focusing on healthy relationships and tackling misogyny to be launched by a Mayor and this latest announcement builds on the success of the award-winning #HaveAWord campaign which launched earlier this year and encouraged men to reflect on misogynistic behaviour and call it out when they see it. The Mayor’s new VAWG prevention toolkit will take this a step further and is designed to empower the next generation of Londoners, including young boys, to stand up and prevent violence against women and girls.
The new toolkit will be delivered by teachers and supported by specially trained workshop leaders from Tender – an arts and education charity that acts to end abuse by engaging with young people in healthy relationships education. The workshop leaders will be available to go into schools across London and work with teachers to deliver sessions, which are designed to educate all young people about the real impact of mistreating women empowering them to spot and challenge sexist and misogynistic behaviour. They will also be on hand for advice and support related to the toolkit.
The Have A Word campaign film – which asks men of all ages to reflect on how they can help tackle violence against women and girls – will now also be shown to students and discussed in schools across London as part of the new VAWG prevention toolkit. The multi award-winning short, which has already been viewed more than 15 million times, will be used as part of the action by the Mayor to ensure the next generation of men are positive allies against VAWG and feel confident, educated and empowered to call out sexist, misogynistic behaviour and attitudes.
The Mayor’s latest action is part of his refreshed strategy to tackle violence against women and girls and comes as NSPCC research shows that a third of all sexual abuse that children experience is committed by other children – with the majority of abuse from teenage boys to teenage girls. Latest ONS figures also reveal that police-recorded sexual offences increased to their highest level over the last 12 months  and it is still tragically the case that in the UK, a violent man kills a woman every three days.
The toolkit will also be made available in schools already committed to delivering a new £2 million programme funded by the Mayor of London’s Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) to tackle school exclusions and help young people better develop healthy relationships.
The VRU’s inclusive and nurturing programme begins in 70 schools in seven boroughs across London with the highest rates of suspensions, children in need, persistent absenteeism and domestic violence incidents. It is centred around the importance of healthy relationships and skilled practitioners will deliver targeted domestic abuse education and training for pupils, teachers and staff.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “In London and across the country we face an epidemic of violence against women and girls. As well as taking action against the perpetrators of violence, I’m determined that we do more to prevent and end the violence and misogyny too many women face on a daily basis.
“That’s why today I have launched a new VAWG prevention toolkit that will be available to every secondary school in London to help teach our next generation of men about becoming allies and building positive and healthy relationships with the women and girls they see and interact with every day.
“We must put the onus of responsibility on men and boys to change the way they perceive see, treat and talk about women if we are going to truly fix the problem of violence against women and girls and build a safer, fairer London for everyone.”
Susie McDonald, Chief Executive, Tender, said: “As a charity that has been acting to end abuse by engaging with young people in healthy relationships education since 2003, we know that there has never been a more pressing time for children and young people to learn about healthy relationships and gender equality.
“Schools create the perfect environment in which young people can learn about these issues in a safe, non-judgemental and age appropriate way. But for teachers, it is essential that they feel confident and equipped with the correct knowledge and skills to deliver this type of education. Therefore Tender is delighted that this toolkit will be accessible to schools across London.
“The toolkit offers teachers lesson plans, ideas for exercises and information to deliver teaching that is accurate and addresses difficult and sensitive subjects in an accessible, proactive and positive way.”
Jo Doyle, Headteacher, Rokeby School, said: “Rokeby School has worked alongside Tender since 2018. Throughout our partnership, in each healthy relationship project and during the RE:SET programme, we have been committed to preparing our boys to be active citizens and allies to ending violence against women and girls.
“We are incredibly proud to be one of the UK’s first Healthy Relationships Champion Schools and will continue to promote the importance of healthy relationships across the school and in the wider community. We will always Dare To Be The Best”.
Dr Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretary, National Education Union, said: “The NEU welcomes this new toolkit. Our members have identified preventing sexual harassment and violence against women as a key professional concern and so we are pleased to see this practical support from the Mayor of London.
“Our own research identified that sexism and sexual harassment begins early We know prevention work to change attitudes to gender inequality and address violence against women and girls works and offers the next generation a chance to be the change they want to see in the world.”