Year Eight students at Abergavenny’s King Henry VIII Comprehensive School recently watched a play entitled It’s Not OK to help them understand the risks of sexual grooming and abuse. The play by Jules Dorey Richmond and Rachel Conlon of York St John University drama department, supported by Connecting Youth Culture and in partnership with the South East Wales Safeguarding Children Board, aims to raise awareness of healthy and unhealthy relationships in both real world and on-line contexts, as well as empower and encourage young people to seek support and keep safe against sexual abuse and exploitation.
A two hour session featured the 30-minute play following four teenagers through their experiences of the internet, relationships and family life. It was followed by a large group discussion exploring themes arising from the production and facilitated smaller drama workshops examining strategies to guard against, and seek help from, sexual abuse and exploitation.
It’s Not OK has also been performed at Monmouth Comprehensive, Caldicot School and Chepstow School in Monmouthshire where pupils from Mounton House School also attended. Feedback from pupils was extremely positive.
Jules Dorey Richmond said: “The response to It’s Not OK has been overwhelmingly positive, during the tour we have again found that drama is an effective tool for engaging young people in, and talking about, difficult subject matter. We have been impressed by the level and expertise of support around the production, which has enabled young people to receive timely and effective help.”
Monmouthshire County Council’s Chief Executive Paul Matthews added: “This production has been very well received in our schools and is an effective method of getting across the message to children that sexual grooming and exploitation are wholly unacceptable and anyone affected should ask for immediate support.”