April 26, 2023 – The Ending Violence Association of Canada (EVA Canada) is happy to share Guidelines and Benchmarks for Integrating GBV Prevention in School-Based Comprehensive Sexual Health Education by the Sex Information and Education Council of Canada (SIECCAN). This important tool will support educators, schools and schoolboards across the country to guide their implementation of comprehensive sex education.
Comprehensive sex education has been shown to significantly reduce sexual and intimate partner violence. These guidelines represent a step forward with regards to standardizing the integration of gender-based and sexual violence prevention education into school curriculum.
According to Canada’s National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence, sex education should include crucial gender-based violence-related topics such as consent, healthy relationships, human rights, conflict resolution, gender norms, gender identity and expression and sexual orientation, bystander intervention, and understanding the root causes of violence, such as colonialism, sexism, racism and discrimination. SIECCAN’s guidelines take an age-appropriate building blocks approach to teaching sex education, starting in kindergarten with basic notions of consent such as asking for a hug, and becoming gradually more complex and nuanced with each year until Grade 12, where students learn about intersecting social factors and attitudes that contribute to gender-based violence.
These thorough guidelines were developed through meaningful consultation with community-based experts and academics from a wide variety of backgrounds representing gender-based violence, gender diversity, Indigeneity, disability, and youth, and they reflect the needs and realities of diverse communities. EVA Canada is proud to have contributed to the guidelines as a member of SIECCAN’s expert working group, by bringing a gender-based violence lens, and a focus on sexualized violence.
We call on provincial, territorial governments, and schoolboards to take the lead in endorsing, using and disseminating this invaluable tool to further develop and integrate standardized and evidence-based comprehensive sex education, including gender-based violence education within their school curriculum, to ensure that children and youth are equipped with the skills and tools they need to thrive and engage in healthy and safe interpersonal interactions and relationships.