Nottinghamshire Police has teamed up with Nottingham City Council, Nottinghamshire County Council and Collaborate Digital to deliver workshops to students at a number of schools across the city and county.
The project has been supported and funded by Nottinghamshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Paddy Tipping.
The project will be focusing on working with special schools, something which Public Protection investigator DCI Pete Quinn was keen to implement.
He said: “For so long, these special education environments have been overlooked.
“However, it’s vital that we support every child in understanding consent and ensure they are equipped with all the knowledge they need to keep them safe.”
Collaborate Digital specialises in delivering social and community messages to school children using creative writing and media production.
They have been delivering a number of workshops to students where they discussed the word ‘consent’, what that meant to them and why it’s important to be able to say ‘no.’
The students were then asked to create a 60-second radio advert to raise awareness of the importance of consent. They were encouraged to be creative, with some students writing songs and others creating short dramatic scenes.
The entries will now be professionally produced by Collaborate Digital, before being judged by a panel, including young people who have been affected by the issues being addressed.
The winning entry will be played on local radio.
The schools involved in the project include Bracken Hill School in Kirkby, The Beech Academy, Fountaindale School, Redgate Primary Academy, all in Mansfield and St Giles School in Retford.
CI Pete Quinn said: “Consent is such an important topic and we’re delighted to see that the students have been so enthusiastic. I’m already looking forward to hearing the entries – I think it’s going to be a difficult task to select a winner!
“Policing is about so much more than arresting people – we’re here to serve and protect, and the best way we can protect people is by supporting them at an early age. I hope that we’ve also given the students increased confidence in reporting crimes and incidents to the police.”
Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Paddy Tipping, said: “Keeping vulnerable people safe is a top priority. Interactive education is highly effective in reaching young people ensuring they not only understand the risks they face but also gain confidence to make safe, informed choices when it comes to relationships and protecting their own bodies.
“This is a good and necessary project. Young people coping with learning difficulties face an increased risk of abuse in the future but we can greatly reduce these risks by equipping them with understanding and providing a communication forum for them to freely discuss their emotions and worries.
“It’s important all young people are given the same tools to value themselves and respect their bodies. Without this information and support, the vulnerable will become even more vulnerable.”
Portfolio Holder for Business, Education and Skills at Nottingham City Council, Coun Sam Webster, said: “It’s vital that pupils learn about areas concerning safety and consent to set them up for adult life. This is especially important for children with special educational needs and disabilities because they can be more vulnerable and the risks can, therefore, be greater.
“This helpful initiative will support young people in Nottingham to understand these risks and know how to keep themselves safe. Often these key messages can be best understood through creative learning and I’m sure the pupils who have taken part will produce some great pieces of work.”
Collaborate Digital Director, Mark Matthews, added: “Creativity is the perfect way to get across a sensitive subject like consent and these young people blew us away with their creative ideas, script-writing and performance. The judges have a tough job on their hands.”
The entries are now being judged and the winner will be announced in early May.