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Relationships and Sex Education: The Way Forward
On Tuesday, 11th September, the Lords and Commons Family and Child Protection Group, chaired by Sir Jeffrey Donaldson MP, and jointly Convened by Revd Lynda Rose, CEO of VfJUK, and Robert Harris, launched its Report on Relationships and Sex Education: The Way Forward. The Report is in response to the public consultation on Relationships and Sex Education (RSE), due to close on November 7.
Whatever the public response, the Government has insisted the proposals will be implemented between September 2019 and 2020, making Relationships Education mandatory in all Primary schools, including free and maintained schools, and Academies, and Sex and Relationships Education mandatory for all Secondary schools. However, Relationships and Sex Education: The Way Forward argues that the underlying rationale is fundamentally flawed, and will not help what everyone agrees is a major crisis in child welfare.
Despite our best efforts the UK still has the highest teenage pregnancy rate in Western Europe – and that’s even with the reported recent 9.6% drop in conceptions for girls aged 15 to 17, hailed as such a success by family planning groups. At the same time we have sky-rocketing rates of teenage STIs, classified by doctors as at epidemic level, while children as young as five are reportedly accessing pornography, and sexting and online bullying is at a record high. And despite justifiable concern over the rise in paedophile and sex grooming, figures for child sexual abuse show that one third of attacks are actually committed by other children.
The traditionally favoured remedy has been to increase sex and relationships teaching – the line the Government is now taking. As said, under the new proposals, relationships education will be mandatory for all primary schools, and relationships and sex education will be mandatory for children aged 11-18. Up until now parents have had the right to withdraw children from sex education classes, but Damian Hinds has now announced that this right is incompatible with English case law and the European Convention on Human Rights, so he is proposing to limit this to the right to request withdrawal from sex education lessons, which the Head may or may not allow. At the same time, under the new provisions, children will be held competent to make their own decisions, which can therefore again override the parental right of withdrawal.
At first glance, the rationale may seem sensible. As everyone acknowledges, the world is a very dangerous place and all of us want to keep children safe. But the problem is that SRE programmes up to now have been a disaster, not just in failing to protect children, but by actually contributing to – even causing – the very problems they’re supposed to stop. In fact, RSE appears to be prematurely sexualising children by giving them too much information, too young.
The report, Relationships and Sex Education: The Way Forward, analyses why and how RSE policy has gone wrong, arguing that current proposals are not just flawed, but highly dangerous. It suggests indeed that much of current policy is not concerned with child welfare, but is rather ideological promotion of adult behaviours. The Report suggests an alternative approach that will realistically confront the problems, while prioritising child welfare and safety.
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A report from The Lords and Commons Family and Child Protection Group
We are failing our children! We live in one of the most affluent societies the world has ever known, yet morally and emotionally our children have never been more at risk. Half of all children today are born outside marriage, and increasingly couples are taking the view that ‘legal’ recognition and sanction is irrelevant.
For those that do marry, by the time a child reaches 15, 42% of all marriages will have ended in divorce, while non-married partners are four times more likely to have split than their married counterparts. The reality is then that over 50% of children will never know the reassurance of a stable home life with their birth mother and father.
Add to that the growing social pressures on children, reinforced by education, to have sex from an increasingly early age without adequate warning of the dangers, and it is small wonder that mental health problems and suicide rates among the young have reached an all-time high.
The inescapable truth is that we are raising a generation of dysfunctional and unhappy children, prioritising adult ‘sexual wants’ over child ‘needs’ – causing irreparable damage that steals their childhood.
The Report ‘Stolen Childhood’ examines the reality of the crisis from three perspectives.
Demographics of Disaster – Writer and Researcher, Patricia Morgan, charts the unprecedented rise in family breakdown this century, and its devastating effect, not just on children, but on all concerned.
The Impact of Family Breakdown: The Father’s Voice – Chris Muewanguzi, CEO of Family Matters Institute, highlights the often overlooked damage caused by the loss of family to men.
Mental Health in Britain’s Young – Clinical Psychologist, Dr Josephine-Joy Wright, charts the growing rise in mental illness and suicide among young people as direct result of family breakdown.
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Is there a case for Same-Sex Marriage?
Questions of Eligibility and Consequences
A new study of extensive world-wide research published today concludes that government plans to introduce same sex marriage (SSM) legislation in the near future are based on false premises and a deeply flawed understanding of both conventional marriage and gay relationships.
“The long-term impact of such legislation on our children’s up-bringing, on our health and welfare and on our liberties enshrined in law has not been acknowledged by SSM proponents,” says author R S Harris, “nor in its rush has the government encouraged proper debate around these vital issues.”
The study, which comprises secular argument and research and is non-religious in approach, is published by Anglican Mainstream (AM), the UK-based online information resource for the global Anglican Communion, and Voice for Justice UK, a new campaigning group for civil and religious liberties. It is the first of its kind in the UK and is commended by a number of public and political figures, including the former Lord Chancellor Lord Mackay of Clashfern.
“Our report is unashamedly academic and educational,” said AM’s Chris Sugden, “but it is full of hard-hitting facts and evidence against gay marriage that SSM proponents dare not face and try to avoid.”
In view of the government’s impending announcement of gay-marriage legislation this week, the report is being mailed today to all members of both Houses of Parliament and also to over 350 chairmen of Conservative constituency associations, the majority of whom are opposed to the legislation according to surveys. Polling by ComRes has found that seven in ten Tory constituency chairmen want David Cameron to drop the proposal; six in ten believe it will lose their party more votes than it will gain and nearly five in ten report a loss of association members over the issue.
“We want to strengthen the Tory grassroots opposition and give them further research and reasons to reinforce their dissent,” said Chris Sugden. “The study will make compelling Christmas reading for them.”
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