North Bristol Post 16 Centre

North Bristol Post 16 Centre

North Bristol Post 16 Centre

Cotham and Redland Green Learning Communities

Press Statement: Avon and Somerset Consent Talk

Tuesday 12 July 2016

During the North Bristol Post 16 Wellbeing Conference on Tuesday 5 July, a range of external speakers were invited to deliver workshops to Post 16 students. One of the scheduled sessions was delivered by two representatives from the Avon and Somerset Police on the issue of consent. The title of their session was ‘Only Yes Means Yes’.

We invited these speakers in to deliver the session to our students, as we understood from their current publications (http://www.thisisnotanexcuse.org/) that the Avon and Somerset Constabulary shared our fundamental standpoint regarding this issue:

  • Rape is never the victim’s fault;
  • All sex without consent is rape;
  • It is the responsibility of the individual to ensure they have gained the consent of a sexual partner before engaging in sexual activity; it is not the responsibility of the partner to communicate consent.

North Bristol Post 16 Centre staff were present in the room for the full duration of this talk and developed a concern that messages regarding personal safety were becoming blurred with messages relating to consent. As a result, some students began to express concern that they were receiving direction that is was the responsibility of the victim to ‘avoid’ rape.

In addition, material was distributed by the police to the young people present with a covering statement of ‘R U asking 4 it?’ The leaflet had been designed to encourage students to be safe with their possessions. However, in the context of this talk we felt a mistake had been made, and that the leaflets gave an outdated message.

Marian Curran, Director of the North Bristol Post 16 Centre, stated, “We are proud of our young people for challenging the conflicting messages and the literature from the Avon and Somerset Police. It felt very important to give students the time to ask challenging questions of the speakers in order to share a positive dialogue around the issue. We met with the Police officers immediately following their session to provide feedback and express concern. As a Centre, we firmly believe that it is incredibly important that young people trust and respect the police, therefore feeling confident in reporting crime of any nature. It is our endeavor to ensure that the talk delivered by the police does not result in negative consequences relating to the likeliness of young people in speaking out to report matters of sexual assault / gender based violence.”

The police response to our feedback has been extremely positive and a consultation session is being scheduled prior to the end of term to allow a representative group of our students to feed back to the police and advise on how they would like to move the matter forward positively.

We welcome the offer made by the police of further collaborative work, and look forward to working with them and our young people to ensure that this type of situation does not occur again 

Ends

For further Information please contact:

Fiona Parnell, PR Officer

North Bristol Post 16 Centre

0117 353 3433

post16@redlandgreen.bristol.sch.uk