Rachel Woods MLA has reiterated her party’s long-standing call for mandatory, comprehensive relationship and sexuality education (RSE) at an event today in Stormont to mark Sexual Health Week.
The Green Party MLA for North Down co-sponsored the ‘Big Sexy Breakfast’ event held by Informing Choices Northern Ireland and Positive Life. Rachel said: “At this morning’s event, we were able to reflect on our own experiences and memories of RSE, and most of us agreed that it was a ‘mixed bag’. But is it important to note that our young people are also telling us that RSE isn’t sufficient for them.
“For example, research by Belfast Youth Forum showed that only 66% of those surveyed said they had actually received any RSE in school, and 60% felt that the information they received was either ‘not very useful’ or ‘not useful at all’. Relationships and sex still remain as a taboo subject here, which is unhelpful, and pushes a lot of people to seek information online, leading to some thinking that harmful pornography is normal.
“Young people need to be given the right information about sexuality, consent, risks and protection so that they can go on to make healthy relationship decisions and to know when something isn't right. We need to understand that no means no and you can say no and that’s ok.
“It’s time for high quality, consistent, inclusive and fact-based RSE for children and young people across Northern Ireland.”
Media contact: Jack O'Dwyer-Henry (07504410770)