Wales politics

Domestic abuse: 'Make relationship lessons compulsory'

Woman being threatened (posed by model) Image copyright Thinkstock

Healthy relationship lessons should be compulsory in schools across Wales, AMs have said in a report.

The equalities committee said it was key to the success of the assembly's "ground-breaking" law on violence and domestic abuse.

Chairman John Griffiths said it should be taught "at an age before unhealthy attitudes towards sex and relationships have developed".

The Welsh Government said it would respond to the report "in due course".

"The Violence against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Act is recognised internationally as a ground-breaking law," Mr Griffiths said.

"It has the potential to bring about real improvements in the protection and support for survivors.


"However, we question whether the Act in itself is enough to bring about the societal change that we believe is necessary to prevent abuse.

"We see healthy relationship education as crucial to address this issue and we believe that it should be taught in all schools and at an age before unhealthy attitudes towards sex and relationships have developed."

Charities supporting victims of domestic violence and abuse should also have enough funding to cope with any increase in demand as a result of the law, the committee said.

It also called for a good practice guide developed for schools by Welsh Women's Aid to be made more widely available.

Des Mannion, head of the children's charity NSPCC Cymru, said: "Healthy relationship education is a vital part of equipping children with the skills they need to stay safe and speak out, and we have long called for lessons to be made compulsory.

"The current situation in schools remains patchy and we welcome the committee's call to address that issue and ensure a Wales-wide approach."

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: "We thank the committee for its report and will respond to it in due course.

"Sex and Relationship Education (SRE) is already part of the curriculum in Wales.

"We expect young people in Wales to receive age appropriate sex and relationships education.

"Healthy, responsible relationships and appropriate sexual behaviour is an important part of the Personal and Social Education framework for seven to 19-year-olds in Wales."

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