Sexist attitudes lie behind domestic violence, and should be
tacked while children are at primary school, the biggest teaching
union has urged.
In guidance to its members, the National Union of Teachers says
that sexist name-calling and bullying by pupils must be taken more
seriously by school. Attitudes which regard women and girls as
inferior to men and boys lie at the heart of most domestic
violence, says the guidance, and the earlier these are challenged
Domestic violence can be tackled through the curriculum, and not
just through personal social and health education (PSHE) says the
NUT. But schools can also challenge gender stereotypes through
behaviour policies, bullying policies, and in the way they enlist
the support of parents and carers.
Children who have experienced domestic violence need to talk
about it and make sense of their experiences, and their peers are
an important source of support.
The guidance also points out that children often have to miss
school, or face several changes of school – and lose their
friends – if they have had to escape the family home and stay in
emergency or refuge accommodation.
Teachers and other school staff are also affected by domestic
violence, and should be treated in a supportive and sympathetic
way, says the guidance which was issued to coincide with
International Women’s Day.