This workshop – delivered by me, Andrew ‘Bernie’ Bernard – will help people to recognise domestic abuse, appreciate the damaging nature of its portrayal in the media and ‘entertainment’, know what to do if they (or someone they know) experiences it, and finally challenge our young men to stop the cycle of violence in their generation.
Some Statistics: 1 in 4 women and girls will experience some sort of domestic abuse from a partner; 2 women a week are murdered by their partners; 60% of all female homicides are caused by their partners. THIS IS 2021 and it is still happening. In fact during the COVID-19 Lockdown in 2020 Domestic Abuse reports have grown…this is one epidemic that isn’t getting better.
Starting with the tragic and powerful story of my sister, Sarah Gosling –- murdered by her partner Ian Hope in 2012 –- I’ll show how domestic abuse can start and escalate within relationships. Session participants are then asked to consider their own experiences* and awareness of domestic violence and how they feel about it. Fundamentally, the workshop aims to raise awareness of the subject and challenge some of the myths and responsibilities involved in this area of relationships and what each and every person can do to put an end to domestic abuse.
In March and April 2021, in response to the police response to the disappearance of Sarah Everard and the publication of the UN Women UK findings that 97% of women 18-24 have experienced sexual harassment AND the sexual harassment and “rape culture” alleged in independent schools we have adapted the workshop to greater focus on what young people can do to develop strategies and changes to the culture of male violence. Here’s some feedback from the Head of Sixth Form at a Grammar school in the North West:
“Bernie led a virtual assembly and follow-up workshop over Teams with our Year 12 and Year 13 students on the topic of domestic violence. Both tutors and students have reacted very positively to these sessions. His delivery was excellent, and he appealed effectively to the teenage target audience. The interactive nature of the workshop worked very well, generating thoughtful and meaningful discussion on a challenging topic that continued between students and staff well beyond the session itself. This is a difficult topic to address, but Bernie’s use of a highly personal story followed by opportunity for discussion and analysis of statistics proved a very effective mix. I would recommend this session to other schools wishing to tackle the issues of domestic violence and sexual harassment and I have invited Bernie back so that all future generations of Sixth Formers can benefit from this insightful and powerful session.”
We have received support and guidance from Refuge (Refuge.org.uk) when designing this programme and will be donating some of the proceeds from the workshops to their charity. I was also delighted to be asked to speak at the Nursing In Practice Annual Conference at the NEC on 7th November 2017 and then 7th March 2019 at the SECC in Glasgow.
We have also gained support and piloted the workshop with Faisal Ahmed Head of Humanities at Stretford High School and his students from Stretford High School. Faisal said “Thank you so much. You made a real impact on the year 10’s lives”.
Workshop Statistics – from surveys of Year 10/11 students who took part in the workshop:
– 73% said the workshop was ‘Excellent’ or ‘Very Good’ – 27% said ‘Good’;
– 100% of participants had a better understanding of Domestic Abuse / Violence and 100% would know what to do if they / close friends were victims of Domestic Violence.
Comments: “My knowledge increased a lot through this workshop”; “The Workshop expanded my knowledge”; “Domestic Violence happens a lot more than I thought it did”; “Domestic Violence is conveyed in many ways”; “Domestic Violence can be very simple and very subtle”.
R. O’Donnell, Head of Pastoral, Asst Headteacher KS3: “Harper Green School were delighted to welcome Bernie to help support our PSHE curriculum with the delivery of a workshop around healthy relationships and in particular domestic violence. Bernie’s delivery of such a sensitive theme was pitched perfectly, engaging both students and staff, and has provided a foundation for further discussions and conversations. Thank you Bernie!”
*Pastoral teams / support staff are made aware of the workshop taking place in case any personal trauma is triggered.