Jewish Women's Aid seeks funds to help young abuse victims

£200k drive will also go towards 'consent education'


Jewish Women’s Aid has launched a campaign to raise £200,000 to expand “consent education” and support girls and young women who have suffered sexual abuse and harassment.

The move comes in the wake of the massive response to the Everyone’s Invited website, established to confront “rape culture” in schools and colleges.

Among the 14,000 anonymous testimonies from around the country, there are 30-plus relating to Jewish schools and university J-Socs and include allegations of rape, abuse and harassment.

JWA has met with schools and youth movements to help them develop programmes to support and educate students.

It reports that girls in the community feel “scared, unheard and preyed upon” while boys “feel accused and unsure how to respond”.

The £200,000 will allow the charity to increase capacity in its education team, enabling more sessions to be delivered.

JWA chief executive Naomi Dickson said that “over the past six weeks, we’ve been contacted by schools, parents and a number of girls and young women.

“We have the experience and expertise to provide them with what they need — the tools to shape a culture of consent and respect, where sexual harassment has no place.

“But we can’t do that without additional funding, which is why we’ve taken the decision to call on the community for their support.”

She reported that from running its safer dating and consent programmes, the charity’s experience was that young people often turned to social media for advice, rather than their parents.

“Sometimes it is easier to look to Google than family at home and that isn’t always best, because you can fall down a rabbit hole very quickly.

“The average age a young person encounters porn now is as early as 11.”

Ms Dickson added: “We want to help parents and teachers talk to young people with the right language around healthy relationships and consent.”

JWA plans to deliver training directly to schools and youth movements so they are both equipped to educate and have the wherewithal to deal with allegations of abuse when reported.

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