Young Campaigner Award

Faustine Petron – Make It Mandatory

Coalition to ban virginity testing & hymenoplasty

The Make It Mandatory team at the launch in September 2022, three months after Faustine set up the Change.org petition

An estimated 2.4 million aged people aged 16 years and over experienced domestic abuse in the year ending March 2022. Education on healthy relationships has the power to transform, as well as save, lives.

The Campaign

Education is the foundation for a brighter future. In 2022, Faustine Petron reflected on her own experiences of domestic abuse and navigating the justice system afterwards. This ultimately led her to question the education, or lack of education, she was provided on healthy relationships.

Faustine decided to set up a Change.org petition calling on the Government to extend Relationship and Sex Education (RSE) to 16- to 18-year-olds (Key Stage Five) and to include in-depth lessons on domestic abuse and coercive control, as a preventative measure.

Eight of Faustine’s friends joined her in the fight for access to this education and together they formed a grassroots campaign. Make It Mandatory believes that education is one of the most powerful tools young people can have, and the capping of mandatory RSE at 16 years old is something they profoundly disagree with.

Sponsored by

Law for Change logo
awards

(Left to Right) Darius and Weronika at Westminster Kingsway College in Kings Cross, London, in November 2022 delivering a workshop on Domestic Abuse to sixth-form students from the lesson plans created by them as part of an outreach project.

I am really pleased but also shocked that our campaign was nominated as we have only been in operation under a year. Being a full time Cambridge University student and founder of this campaign has been challenging at times, especially when lived experience is involved in such a heavy topic. The team and I are all volunteers who are passionate about getting this change in the curriculum and won’t give up!”

Faustine Petron

awards

(Left to Right) Darius and Weronika at Westminster Kingsway College in Kings Cross, London, in November 2022 delivering a workshop on Domestic Abuse to sixth-form students from the lesson plans created by them as part of an outreach project.

I am really pleased but also shocked that our campaign was nominated as we have only been in operation under a year. Being a full time Cambridge University student and founder of this campaign has been challenging at times, especially when lived experience is involved in such a heavy topic. The team and I are all volunteers who are passionate about getting this change in the curriculum and won’t give up!”

Faustine Petron

The Change

In 2020, the Office for National Statistics revealed that women aged 16 to 19 years were more likely to be victims of domestic abuse than any other age group. Despite this, the Government has refused to mandate Relationship and Sex Education (RSE) beyond 16 years old, even though all young people are legally required to be in education up to 18. An estimated £66bn is spent every year on domestic abuse, but what if we invested more in prevention and education?

Mandating comprehensive and intersectional RSE until 18 would radically change, and potentially save, lives. It would mean that sixth formers and college students would no longer miss out on vital education that would equip them with information on healthy relationships, which they would use when they move on to university and life outside of school.

Make It Mandatory say it is unacceptable for the Government to ignore such a pervasive and widespread issue, which affects people of all gender identities and backgrounds. As young people, they are pushing for this change because they believe the Government and educational establishments have a duty of care to protect students from falling into the vicious cycle of perpetrating or suffering abuse.

The Future

The aspiration of Make it Mandatory is that the younger generation, their siblings, their children, and those who come after them, can have the education they never did.

In 2023, an average of two women a week are killed by a current or former partner in England and Wales. Make It Mandatory see education as one of many steps the Government needs to take to end violence against women and girls.

They want the Government to acknowledge this serious issue and act on it quickly by accepting the simple and effective proposal of extending Relationship and Sex Education to Key Stage Five. They also hope that schools and colleges continue to cultivate safe spaces where students feel able to ask questions about healthy relationships and are signposted to appropriate support services – ultimately leaving school as happy, healthy and confident young adults.

Who else was involved?

The team consists of 8 friends all from Oxford, who are full time students or in full time education.

  • Faustine Petron
  • Ithar Ghalifa
  • Imaan Ayesha
  • Aaliyah Ahmed
  • Weronika Skibicka
  • Jasmine Godden Melendez
  • Pippa Campbell
  • Darius Smith