Safe spaces

Discussing sex, sexuality and relationships can be an intensely personal experience. While most students quickly feel comfortable, it is essential to ensure that all students feel safe and comfortable before the lessons commence. All programs begin with a discussion about what constitutes a safe space (physical environment, the presence of trusted adults, a commitment to respectful communication as stipulated by the students, an understanding of how content will be delivered etc) and the role each person plays in ensuring that happens.

Creating a safe space has the added benefit of modelling to young people the negotiation of personal needs when discussing sexual matters.

Creating safe spaces continues to be essential when working with adults. Many adults come to workshops or information sessions with fears for their children, negative experiences of sex, experiences of sexual assault, or concern that their values and family experiences are not going to be respected during the conversation.

How long it takes to create a safe space depends on the needs of the individuals in the room. Classes and workshops will not commence until Unique educators are reassured that participants are reasonably comfortable.

Information will also be available to students and adults on further resources and support networks should the classes trigger any concerns. When working in a school environment, Unique educators will communicate with the relevant staff members in order to support young people when necessary.

It is rare for students to feel distress as a result of taking part in sexuality education, however, it is essential that the facilitator and supporting adults are equipped to respond if need be.