SDLP Children and Young People Spokesperson Cara Hunter has launched a ‘Reforming Relationships and Sex Education’ (RSE) campaign.
Ms Hunter has long called for compulsory and modern RSE to be taught in schools across the North.
The campaign will involve widespread engagement and a number of public events, with Ms Hunter hosting a Let’s Talk Consent event at Queen’s University’s Student Union on Tuesday.
East Derry MLA Ms Hunter said:
“Since entering politics I have made it my mission to improve the relationship and sex education being taught in our schools. The lack of modern, comprehensive and uniform RSE in our schools is a major failing of our education system and I believe that many pupils are ill-equipped when navigating relationships and other challenges life throws their way as a result.
“We cannot allow schools to determine themselves what RSE they teach their pupils. Every pupil must be equipped with the same skills and taught about important issues like consent, sexuality, how to handle conflict, domestic abuse and violence, and what is and isn’t acceptable in a relationship. We have many problems in our society around that I believe could be improved if we teach our young people about them and encourage healthy behaviours.
“I’m launching my campaign both to shine a spotlight on these issues and to build momentum for change around RSE. The Department of Education cannot sidestep this important issue any longer. In the coming weeks I’m going to be meeting with young people across the North and engaging with other political parties and relevant groups asking them to give their support for this change so that we can empower our young people and reduce instances of sexual harassment, assault and other behaviours that cause so much harm.”