Education programme

Definition 

  • A national education programme to raise awareness of CSEA (both offline and online) – empowering children, young people, parents, guardians, caregivers and practitioners with information about CSEA; their rights to protection; where to find help and support, and report sexual exploitation and abuse.
  • The programme’s messages should incorporate the latest trends and developments and be consistently delivered across the country. They should be designed sensitively, considering the potential impact of the subject matter on the audience.
  • A range of engaging, age-appropriate resources should be provided including films, lesson plans and online learning resources.

Why is it needed? 

  • An education programme provides an opportunity to discuss CSEA in schools, other formal settings and community settings to help raise awareness of and to prevent the crime; it also provides children, young people, parents, guardians, caregivers and practitioners with information about places to go for advice and support, and knowledge of where to report abuse.
  • The programme will help children and young people to better understand the risks of CSEA and the factors that could make them vulnerable to becoming a victim, also providing them and their parents/guardians/caregivers with information that will empower them to protect themselves from offenders.
  • The programme will also help practitioners working with children to spot indicators of CSEA and enable them to better support victims and their families in accessing support and reporting cases.

Good practice 

  • The programme should be developed at a national level to ensure consistency in messaging but delivered to all local areas.Ideally, the programme should be incorporated into the national curriculum to ensure full national rollout.It could be incorporated into related programmes such as sex and relationships.
  • National coordination of educational resources will enable them to be updated on an ongoing basis to keep the messaging contemporary and reflective of current risks. 
  • Resources need to be put into context within a particular country or region to ensure they address local CSEA issues and can overcome any local barriers to discussion on the topic. Children should be engaged in the development of resources.
  • An online portal can be developed to provide easy access to advice, support and resources for practitioners working with children, the children themselves and the wider public. This can be categorised by age to ensure the messaging is appropriate and accessible.
  • Media opportunities, initiatives with industry and international initiatives such as Safer Internet Day should be maximised to enhance the dissemination of messages and resources.
  • Training should be provided for education professionals to ensure they can deliver messages sensitively.
  • Resources or programmes should signpost clear reporting processes for children to get help. Professionals delivering the programme should be aware of the possibility of disclosures of sexual abuse and/or exploitation following sessions and know how to respond.