The film ‘Sleeping Lions’ focuses on Mia a pupil in secondary school. Her younger sister attends the local primary school. Mia’s mother is shortly to marry her partner of eight years. Unknown to her mother, her partner sexually abused Mia when she was younger during visits to his caravan. When her future stepfather tells her excited sister that just the two of them are going to visit his caravan together, Mia realises that he now intends to begin sexually abusing her. When confronted by Mia, her future stepfather threatens that telling anyone will destroy her family and in particular her mother. Mia tells her own boyfriend who has recognised that she is distressed. At first Mia is convinced her teacher will not believe her but her boyfriend encourages her to tell. Mia’s teacher listens and reassures her that her sister will be protected. The abuse is prevented and although upset, Mia’s mother thanks her for her bravery in telling and protecting her sister. Contains adult themes and themes of bullying and child sexual exploitation which some viewers may find upsetting. Teacher review recommended prior to use in class.
There is opportunity for pupils to explore Mia’s dilemma: to protect her mother or protect her sister? Students could explore how they would advise and support Mia if she told them what has happened and might happen, reinforces the support peers can offer – listen; believe; help find support; go with them to get that support; get help for them if they can’t get help for themselves. Students could investigate local and national sources of support for vulnerable pupils and create either poster material or information pages for the school’s website suitable to support both older and younger pupils in the school. The school could invite local agencies to follow up this work sharing with pupils their role in protecting pupils like Mia and her sister.