Pupils in London are to be given “allyship training” as part of a package of measures designed to educate young people about healthy relationships and help prevent violence against women and girls (VAWG).
The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has invested £1m in a new education toolkit, which is to be made available to all secondary schools in the capital to help pupils recognise and call out sexist and misogynistic behaviour.
“We must put the onus of responsibility on men and boys to change the way they perceive, 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,” said Khan.
The training sessions will be taught by teachers with the support of workshop leaders from Tender – an arts and education charity that works to end abuse through healthy relationships education.
The mayor’s initiative will help pupils understand the impact of sexist and misogynistic behaviour on women and girls, as well as support them to identify and call out misogyny and help prevent VAWG.
“In London and across the country we face an epidemic of violence against women and girls,” the mayor said. “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.”
Khan’s Have A Word campaign film, which was launched earlier this year and asks men of all ages to reflect on how they can help tackle VAWG, will also be shown to students as part of the prevention campaign.
Susie McDonald, chief executive of Tender, said: “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-judgmental 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.”