June 2023 sees the launch of a children's book that aims to educate children in a fun way about healthy and unhealthy friendships and prevent future domestic abuse victimisation.
Relationships play a key part in every child’s wellbeing with healthy relationships helping children feel secure and supported, and unhealthy relationships having a long-lasting negative impact that can continue into adulthood. In the UK, primary schools must teach all young people how to stay safe through the promotion of healthy relationships with the aim of significantly reducing future domestic abuse.
Research has shown that professionals who work with victims of domestic abuse believe that early preventative work with young children is vital.
Preventative education on how to recognise abusive and unhealthy relationships is likely to be more cost-effective than services that deal with the aftermath of victims, or the rehabilitation of perpetrators. Educating children about healthy relationships before the age of ten is vital because after this point, attitudes and behaviours become crystallised and resistant to change. - The Conversation
However, teaching this subject in an age-appropriate way is challenging. That is why DV-ACT, alongside other organisations, were thrilled to sponsor speaker, advocate, survivor and author Jennifer Gilmour's first children's book. The book aims to help KS2 children better understand the difference between healthy and unhealthy friendships so that they carry this forward not only within childhood friendships but into their future romantic relationships.
What is the book about?
The story follows Jess who is unique in her own right with beautiful white hair, different coloured eyes and freckles. Jess has been to many different schools and we join her as she starts another new school and feeling rather vulnerable. The school has a buddy-up system and a fellow classmate volunteers to help Jess in her first week, her name is Sam and is very welcoming on the offset.
We see them getting on well and enjoying each others company but things don't feel right when Sam gives Jess a nickname that she doesn't like, Jess musters up the courage to tell her she doesn't like to be called Frecks but Sam ignores it. As the story unfolds we see Sam become demanding over school activities at lunchtime, getting jealous of Jess making other friends and everything comes to a head.
The book explores how Jess, feeling trapped, alone and unhappy works out how she can ask for the help she needs.
A resource pack is FREE with every copy of The Funky Frecks. Included in the pack is:
About the author
Introduction / The vision for The Funky Frecks
Two activities with printable handout sheets
One activity requiring additional resources
You can buy Funcky Frecks in paperback and eBook here- https://mybook.to/TheFunkyFrecks
Article in the Conversation - Healthy relationships education offers a real chance to reduce domestic violence https://theconversation.com/healthy-relationships-education-offers-a-real-chance-to-reduce-domestic-violence-96070
NSPCC - Promoting healthy relationships - https://learning.nspcc.org.uk/safeguarding-child-protection-schools/promoting-healthy-relationships
DV-ACT are a team of domestic abuse experts, available throughout the UK, who provide assessments, programmes, consultancy and training to local authorities and the family courts. Our experts have decades of experience working directly with domestic abuse perpetrators and victims, as specialist assessors and as expert witnesses in the family courts.
DV-ACT was formed with the aim of using our expertise to help safeguard children from abuse, this is at the heart of everything that we do. To read more about us please visit our post - Who are DV-ACT?