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World News

Stopping violence against women starts with church youth work says expert

by Sophie Drew

A week filled with headlines of violence against women has prompted fresh calls for more education in schools and church youth groups. 

The actions of former Met Police officer David Carrick, who has been jailed for life after admitting to 85 serious offences against at least twelve women, has sent shockwaves.

The death of Epsom College head teacher Emma Pattison, as well as her daughter Lettie and husband, has sparked similar conversations. 

Meanwhile, 45-year-old Nicola Bulley remains missing. Police believe she may have fallen into the River Wyre, but her partner has told journalists he is convinced that she is not in the water. 

Whilst many of the events of this week are still awaiting further information, many women find themselves once again looking for ways to ensure their personal safety.

However, according to Bekah Legg – CEO of Restored, a Christian charity responding to continued violence against women – the key is to nip violent behaviour in the bud before it even begins, particularly by working with children and young people to navigate healthy relationships. 

She told Premier Christian News: “I think there's loads churches can do. 

“It can be as simple as making sure that we're talking about this stuff, that we're praying about it, even on a Sunday morning.

She continued: “It's really simple, but actually, it sends a bigger message that this is something that matters - it matters to us, it matters to God. That God is interested and this is something we should be interested in. 

“Then it's about the younger generation, youth groups. We are quite good at talking about not having sex before marriage, and that's, that is fair enough, but actually, there is a lot more to relationships than sex.

“We need to talk about that other stuff, too. About actually, what does respect look like? And what does treating somebody well look like? 

“I think those conversations are important. I think the very best churches should be going into the local schools, and running, running those lessons in PSHE lessons.”

Despite the calls for churches to do more, it is also up to parents, Bekah says. 

Instead of shying away from the awkward topics, the Restored CEO says caregivers need not only protect their children from harm, but educate them to ensure they’re not the ones committing it. 

“The truth is, if we don't talk to our children about these things -  if we don't help them think through what they're seeing online, if we're not informing their views on relationships - somebody else will. 

“The other people who will might not be saying the things that we want them to hear. 

“So I think it's really, really critically important that at school, we're talking about this, but the truth is, the people with the most influence over their children are their parents.”

For further resources on how to discuss similar issues with your children, visit 

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