Splitz Support Service - TeenzTalk (2016)
Splitz Support Service is currently delivering a free programme of support to schools in Wiltshire called TeenzTalk (courtesy of funding from the Blagrave Trust).
The TeenzTalk programme addresses the issue of Healthy Relationships, intimate abuse and teen dating relationships with young people in Year 9 and Year 10. However, the course can be aimed at younger years if it is needed within your school.
The 12 week course content is designed to be interactive, engaging, fun as well as thought provoking.
The school pastoral team identify those children they think will most benefit, with a maximum of 12, in two separate groups of girls and boys from Years 9 and 10 (decision made by school though attendance is wholly voluntary on the part of the young people).
The programme has no cost to your school.
This additional support can help schools meet some of the Wiltshire Healthy Schools criteria in the theme Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health. Splitz will be providing information to schools joining the Wiltshire Healthy Schools programme during 2016.
We piloted our TeenzTalk course in four Wiltshire schools (thanks to funding from the Wiltshire and Swindon Police and Crime Commissioner) and the programme has been externally evaluated by Annabel Jackson Associates.
The pilot has been extremely successful, with young people clearly making changes in their behaviour at school; understanding what it means to have a healthy intimate relationship and also, having an impact on the reduction in numbers of disciplinary incidents reported.
Dating violence is not only physical, but consists of emotional, verbal and sexual abuse. Numerous studies from the USA and the UK demonstrated that abuse in teenage dating relationships is common and considered normal by many young people.
Our experience of working with young people, has shown us that:
- Teens need to become aware of, and recognise the signs and symptoms of dating violence, so that they can develop healthy and respectful relationships, mitigating the likelihood of becoming victims or perpetrators of domestic abuse themselves.
- We need to nurture children and young people to have positive relationships based on mutual respect.
- We need to empower young people to stop dating abuse before it starts.
- Strategies that promote healthy relationships are vital.
- During the preteen and teen years, young people are learning skills they need to form positive relationships with others. This is an ideal time to promote healthy relationships and prevent patterns of dating violence that can last into and through adulthood.
The above views, gained from our experience, have been reinforced by The STIR study (Safeguarding Teenage Intimate Relationships) which was carried out by researchers at the Universities of Bristol and Central Lancashire, in the England and in 4 European countries. Their findings are:
- More than 40% of schoolgirls aged between 13 and 17 in England say they have been coerced into engaging in sexual activity
- It found that a high proportion of teenage boys regularly view pornography and one in five hold negative attitudes towards women.
- Most of the schoolgirls say they were pressured into having sex, although some also reported being raped.
- The STIR survey found many have also suffered physical attacks, intimidation and emotional abuse.