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Hull MP wants schools to help protect children from sex abuse

Hull North MP Diana Johnson wants to make lessons about sex and relationships compulsory in classrooms.

The Sex and Relationships Education (Curriculum) Bill requires the Secretary of State for

Education to introduce education about sex and relationships into the National Curriculum, including raising awareness of violence against girls and women alongside building resilience against bullying and sexual abuse.
The Bill will be introduced by the Hull North Labour MP in the House of Commons on Tuesday 21 October, under the Ten Minute Rule Bill procedure.
The Bill’s objective is to expand existing sex education from solely focussing on the basic biological facts of reproduction and the spread of infections and viruses. There is currently no requirement to teach pupils about healthy relationships and issues such as consent.

Diana Johnson MP has chosen to focus on sex and relationships education in this Bill as she believes that recent child abuse cases, including events in places such as Rochdale, Oxford and Rotherham, plus crimes being uncovered by public figures such as Jimmy Savile, have shown the ongoing need for young people to get high quality relationships and sex education.

MPs sponsoring the Bill include Simon Danczuk (Rochdale), Sarah Champion (Rotherham), Sir Kevin Barron (Rother Valley), John Healey (Wentworth and Dearne), Sharon Hodgson (Washington and Sunderland West), Lyn Brown (West Ham), Barbara Keeley (Worsley and Eccles South), Roberta Blackman-Woods (City of Durham), Andrew Gwynne (Denton and Reddish) and Wayne David (Caerphilly).
Diana Johnson MP said: “Everyone has been horrified by recent revelations about child sex abuse in places such as Rochdale, Oxford and Rotherham, and historic cases such as Jimmy Savile and Cyril Smith.

“It’s appalling how many young victims have been exploited by paedophiles. The Government needs to do more in a range of areas to protect children from abuse and to support parents.

“One particular area where schools can help is by teaching children how to recognise inappropriate and suspicious behaviour, such as grooming. Pupils in every type of school need to be taught more about personal relationships than just the basic old-fashioned biology lessons of the past.

“We are reminded regularly in the news of all the opportunities and dangers that confront young people today. In our free, open, high-technology society we cannot protect youngsters totally from every conceivable danger and the increasing opportunities that potential abusers have.

“However, a modern education should give young people skills that tilt the odds in their favour - and firmly against those seeking to harm them. It would also help the fight against other costly social ills such as relationship breakdowns, domestic violence and unplanned teenage pregnancies.”

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