Sex education lessons should be compulsory in secondary schools and address the issue of sexual consent, the vast majority of parents believe.
This is the finding of a new YouGov poll commissioned in the wake of the disturbing sex abuse cases that have come to light in the past few months.
The lessons shopuld also cover the topic of how to develop “!respectful relationships”, 86 per cent of all adult respondents believe.
The survey, commissioned by the End Violence Against Women, is accompanied by a report which is highly critical of the lack of action by the Department for Education in taking steps to curb abuse through schools - in particular through its decision not send campaigning material produced by the Home Office, called ThisIsAbuse, on to schools.
The DfE, it adds, has also wound up its expert group tackling violence against women and girls.
“For months now there has been a torrent of news reports about child sexual abuse, prosecution of groups of men for child sexual exploitation, the murders of Tia Sharp and April Jones and weekly stories of domestic violence murders - the rate of which ius not falling,” said Marai Larasi, who co-chairs EVAW.
“Currently government work is at best patchy and education policy is a key barrier to improving this.”
A spokeswoman for the Department for Education said sex and relationships education was already compulsory in state secondary schools and that guidance made it clear pupils shoild be taught about the dangers of abuse.
At present, sex education is included in the biology curriculum although the report says that there are plans to consider including the topic of sexual consent in the PHSE curriculum (personal, social, health and economic).