Young people to get more consistent consent advice

New government guidance for teachers, youth workers and health professionals welcomed by LGBT Youth Scotland and Rape Crisis Scotland

Friday 17th May 2019

Advice to young people on healthy relationships and consent is to become more consistent under a new Scottish Government educational resource for public sector employees like teachers, health professionals and youth workers.

The key messages for advice to secondary school-age young people centre on relationships being ‘mutually respectful, consensual, positive, healthy and enjoyable’.

The Scottish Government says the new guidance will mean young people will get ‘consistent, age-appropriate’ information, no matter who they turn to for advice.

Healthy relationships, consent, intimate image and the law concerning sexual activity are among the issues covered in the resource, which represents the first national-level guidance on the issue.

The Deputy First Minister, John Swinney, said: “Getting it right for every child means being able to have open and candid conversations about the issues affecting young people’s lives and that must include a safe space to learn about consensual and healthy relationships.”

The new guidance, which applies to all kinds of relationships, has been welcomed by LGBT Youth Scotland.

Cara Spence, chief executive, said: “LGBT young people are rarely provided the opportunity to explore how these issues relate to their lives, so it’s great to see that the messages are inclusive of all sexual orientations and gender identities.”

Meanwhile, Kathryn Dawson of Rape Crisis Scotland said the resource would help young adults learn about “their right to be safe, and their responsibility to respect others in intimate and sexual relationships”.

And Lisa Kirkbride, a senior inspector at the Care Inspectorate, which regulates care services for young people, added: “This resource offers key information and messages to enable professionals to talk confidently and sensitively with young people about relationships and consent to sexual activity.

She continued: “This will promote greater access to information that is important in developing healthy relationships and to understanding consent during their remaining childhood and into early adult life.”