Calls for mandatory coercive control education for older teens


Less than half of older teenagers received training on domestic violence and controlling or coercive behaviors in their sixth year or at college in England, research shows.

Charity Refuge said 47% of 16-19 year olds received this education in sixth grade or at their tertiary institution, with 50% saying they received it during the school years of grades 7-11.

Relationship and sexuality education, which includes teaching about domestic violence and controlling or coercive behaviors, is mandatory for high school students.

The Refuge survey, conducted by Opinium in August of 1,000 young people aged 16 to 19 in training, found that 30% of young women said they had experienced controlling or coercive behavior in a relationship.

This is the exact time when they should be getting a comprehensive education on domestic violence – but that’s not the case for so many.

When presented with a list of examples of potentially controlling and coercive behaviors, 51% of young women surveyed said it had happened to them.

These included a partner isolating them from friends and family, monitoring their use of social media, repeatedly disparaging them, restricting access to birth control, and controlling their finances.

The charity said it was concerned that too many young people were receiving vital information.

He calls for such education to be compulsory in post-16 education and has written to Education Secretary Kit Malthouse asking him to consider how more consistent teaching can be achieved.

He said that while relationships and sex education must be taught in sixth graders attached to schools, other sixth graders and tertiary colleges are not required to teach this, so some students are absent.

The charity has teamed up with survivor and university student Faustine Petron to launch the Make it Mandatory campaign.

The 22-year-old petition calling on the government to make domestic violence and coercive control education compulsory in sixth grade has received more than 62,000 signatures.

Refuge chief executive Ruth Davison said “much more” needs to be done to educate the public about what coercive control is and its impact on survivors.

She said: “Young people in school are at a pivotal age in terms of learning about relationships. This is the exact time when they should be getting a comprehensive education on domestic violence – but many are not.

“With over 51% of young women experiencing behaviors that could be coercive or controlling, now is the time for the government to step in and protect young people. Without action, young people are in danger.

Ms Petron said: ‘As a survivor who would have benefited from better education on the warning signs of coercive or controlling behavior, this is an issue close to my heart and for which I have the intention to keep fighting.

“It is essential that young people are empowered to spot the signs of domestic violence and know how to get help if they need it.”

A spokesperson for the Department for Education said: ‘Domestic violence is a horrific crime. To help children and young people learn about healthy relationships at an early age, we have made age-appropriate Relationships, Sex and Health Education (RSHE) classes mandatory in schools, so that at when they leave school, they are familiar with these difficult issues.

“Schools and providers after 16 need to be alert to issues such as everyday sexism, misogyny and gender stereotypes and take positive steps to create a culture where these are not tolerated, and where any occurrence is identified and processed. »

Refuge’s national domestic abuse helpline – 0808 2000 247 – is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for free and confidential assistance.

People can also visit to complete a web form and request a safe time to be contacted or to access live chat (live chat available 3pm to 10pm, Monday to Friday).

Tech abuse assistance is available through

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