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ARCH-ED – Helping our children and young people to navigate challenging times.

My name is Yasmin, I am the facilitator for the ARCH-ED Prevention Programme. Facilitating this programme and engaging with the young people has been such a delight. Not only have we delivered lots of content, but I have been privileged that our young community have shown me further insight to the challenges they face in today’s world.

Today I want to share some of the learning that we have experienced so far throughout this prevention work.

ARCH-ED is a collective of a seven-session programme that explores topics such as gender, consent, sexualisation and pornography, sexual violence and how to help prevent sexual violence and social media and its impact. The delivery has been provided as stand-alone sessions or as a full programme delivery. We have worked with some great schools and youth settings and worked with many children from the ages of 10 years to 16 plus. The programme is also flexible so it can be adapted to support the schools’ needs if they highlight any issues that they feel they need support in addressing, for example, exploring the impact of influencer Andrew Tate.  

Delivering the programme has highlighted even more that forms of sexual violence are experienced every day for young people.

 In some of the groups we have held when exploring sexting, young people have stated that sending or requests for “nudes” without consent is their normal, with ‘everyone doing it’ and with some young people thinking it is part of a relationship. It is important that through these sessions, that we are having discussions about image sharing whilst also informing our young people about the law around this.

There are themes across the board that show our young people have limited understanding of healthy and unhealthy relationships, with concerns raised around the lack of identifying sexual harassment and sexualized language or seeing these as a problem or that they were happening within intimate relationships and friendships. The young people did not deem this as something that would be a ‘red flag’.  When exploring sexual violence further, a lot of the young people identified physical acts of sexual violence with no other forms being identified.  Sexual harassment in particular demonstrated how desensitized our young people were to this and how they feel there is nothing to be done, or that speaking out has larger consequences with peers.

The access our young people have to online content and their environments have a large impact on the way in which they navigate through their life. The internet is an important part of their world and it will and does impact them highly, some more than others. Although the government look for ways to protect our young people in their online presence, this is something we may be working with for the foreseeable. In exploring social media with our young people, we acknowledged that it was important to not just highlight the negative aspects but also the positives, such as connecting with other people and sharing memories.

This stands to show the importance of our work to not be a stand-alone one-off engagement for our young people but to be something that is repeated to engrave the understanding of such subjects as consent, sexualisation, and social media to better equip them. It is scary to think they will come across things like pornography without the search for such content. But our programme can help them to understand these important topics, educate them to challenge and inform what is normal, what is right and demonstrate other perspectives. Relationships will be a part of our young people’s lives and in educating on the true understanding of what consent in and not only to seek it but how to give and feel ok in retracting it. These things will better support our young people.

That is why I feel so passionate in reaching as many young people as possible and repeating the work with them to give them the tools to support better sexual health understanding, better wellbeing and given them better informed choices.

For more information about the ARCH-ED Prevention Programme visit our Get Informed page of our website or contact Yasmin on