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Teaching children in school that sex is "normal and pleasurable" undermines protecting children from abuse

24 November 2015

A national parent advocacy group has raised concerns that teaching children in school that sex is pleasurable could seriously undermine efforts to protect them from abuse.

SPUC Safe at School is calling for the content of school sex and relationships resources to be examined following a report on child abuse published today by the Children's Commissioner.

"The Children's Commissioner places emphasis on the role of teachers in identifying children who are being abused, but fails to question the way in which sex education lessons may be making children vulnerable," says Antonia Tully of Safe at School.

"Like eating ice-cream"

"There are many programmes being used by primary schools which present adult sexual relationships to children as fun," says Antonia Tully. "No one is asking whether telling children in school that sex is pleasurable might be making a child more susceptible to sexual predators.  Asserting in the classroom that sex is normal could further hinder a child suffering abuse from speaking out.  If we're serious about putting an end to child abuse we should be looking at the content of classroom resources."

Safe at School points to the supplementary advice for schools on teaching sex and relationships education, published by Brook, the PSHE Association and the Sex Education Forum, which states that a principle of sex education must be that sex is treated "as a normal and pleasurable fact of life". Antonia Tully commented: “A child could take to mean that sex is something nice which everyone does, like eating ice-cream.”

For more information, please contact Anthony Ozimic, SPUC's Media Manager:

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