Using Film to support the Schools Consent Project

16 May 2024

4 mins
Young people working with the Schools Consent Project
Young people working with the Schools Consent Project

During the 2023 Into Film Festival, we were proud to present a screening of coming-of-age drama How To Have Sex, which deals with the vital topic of sexual consent. We were thrilled to welcome the film's director, Molly Manning Walker, who joined us at the event, and was able to speak directly to the film's target teenage audience about the important issues raised in the film.

We're now thrilled to further develop our work in this area by collaborating with the Schools Consent Project, who do amazing and crucial work in educating young people about sexual consent.

Below, the Schools Consent Project tell us about their aims, and how they go about trying to change young attitudes towards issues of consent.

The Schools Consent Project

The Schools Consent Project sends lawyers into schools to teach 11-18 year olds about consent and key sexual offences. In the last ten years, we have educated over 50,000 young people, and we now work with the military and in football clubs. In 2023, we opened our first overseas arm in New York, and in the past six months we have educated approximately 3,500 young people Stateside and delivered our first workshop in Spanish.

Our aim is to normalise conversations about consent so that young people make informed, ethical decisions and are less likely to experience - or perpetrate - sexual violence. We hope that by educating kids at a young age, there will be a ‘trickle up' effect into higher education, workplaces and on juries.

The charity was set up nearly ten years ago after the Founder, Kate Parker, experienced the pitfalls of the criminal justice system as a barrister. In particular, she dealt with a number of cases involving young people sending images that they did not realise were illegal. Separately, a large number of her friends had experienced sexual assault. Kate felt that the best way to bring about a change was to go into schools and talk to young people about their rights and responsibilities in this area. The appetite from schools was enormous: the Schools Consent Project was born!

Whilst the organisation has grown vastly since its inception, it has been disappointing to see a regression of views in young people over the same time period. A recent report by the Crown Prosecution Service and Equally Ours shows that:

  • 47% of 18-24 year olds think that it is not rape if a victim does not resist or fight back
  • 50% of 18-24 year olds believe that the rules of consent apply differently online and offline
  • 58% of 18-24 year olds believe that consent is assumed within a relationship or marriage
  • 58% of 18-24 year olds believe that women either often or sometimes make up rape allegations.

Clearly, our work is more needed than ever.

The Schools Consent Project has been fortunate to partner with some ground-breaking pieces of art, including the Olivier-winning play Prima Facie, and the BAFTA-nominated film How To Have Sex. Both works examine themes of consent and sexual violence with a female lens. The partnerships have enabled us to significantly further our reach in schools, and help lift the lid on a topic that might otherwise seem awkward or taboo.

For more information, and to bring this work to a school near you, please see:

Schools Consent Project

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