Workshops educate teens in unhealthy relationships

  • Breaking
  • 28/03/2014

Schoolgirls across the country will have access to an educational programme aimed at ensuring their safety in personal relationships.

Inspired by the death of Dunedin woman Sophie Elliott, police have agreed to implement a nationwide rollout of the programme in the hope of arming young women with potentially life-saving skills.

Six years after the death of her daughter, Lesley Elliott's doing everything she can to ensure other young women are able to spot unhealthy, controlling relationships before they get out of hand.

"It's what Sophie missed and I missed in her relationship so it's about relationships and it's targeting year 12, which is sort of 16 upwards and it's basically boyfriend-girlfriend relationships," says Ms Elliott.

Ms Elliott's daughter Sophie was stabbed to death in 2008 by her former boyfriend Clayton Weatherston.

"I'm absolutely positive that if Sophie had something like that at high school that she would have… some alarm bells would've gone off in the relationship she had - we didn't recognise the signs."

Implemented by police, social agencies and teachers, the programme is teaching pupils the differences between healthy and unhealthy relationships.

Police say the workshops aim to help get young people to recognise if they're in an abusive relationship and get help before it becomes too hard to get out of.

"There are a lot of programmes done in schools but they don't specifically target the teen girls and boys at school, so that's what we're targeting," says Ms Elliott.

A year-long trial in nine schools was so popular police have agreed to helping run it nationwide.

All Ms Elliott hopes is that the programme will help prevent more young women suffering in unsafe relationships.

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