Today marks the start of the Government’s “The Serious Consequences campaign” – which will run on TV, cinema, local and national radio, and digital and social media. This campaign seeks to empower victims of intimate image abuse by making them aware of the legislation and protections available.
In St Angela’s College, our second year ICT classes have been participating in the “Lockers” programme since January. This programme, created by the PDST, and supported by the Department of Justice, was created to assist schools and students in coping with and preventing the sharing of explicit self-generated images of minors. This programme gave students the opportunity to:
- Be able to recognise that sharing intimate content is illegal for minors and the harm that sharing someone else’s intimate content, without their permission, can cause.
- Encourage students to act responsibly when they encounter intimate content online or when considering sending a sext.
- Explore the emotions involved in incidents of non-consensual sharing of intimate content and develop strategies for coping effectively and compassionately.
- Explore the issue of victim blaming, which can often arise when incidents of non-consensual sharing have occurred.
- Analyse the influence of peers in incidents of non-consensual sharing.
- Debate how peer pressure can contribute to the prevalence of non-consensual sharing of intimate content and a culture of victim blaming.
- Explore the persistent nature of digital content, which will help students to become more responsible in their sexting and photo sharing practices.
- Discuss who to go to for help, and the importance of immediate disclosure.
- Understand about “Coco’s Law”, and be able to recognise the key offences under the Harassment, Harmful Communication and Related Offences Act 2020.
By the end of the programme, the students understood that their online actions have consequences for both themselves and others and that they are accountable for their actions. Students felt empowered to speak up about online sexual harassment and now know where to go for help if it occurs.
This programme culminated with the entire 2nd year taking on different action projects. These ranged from dramas, to TikToks, PowerPoint Presentations, Kahoot quizzes, an Instagram Awareness Account, Posters, videos, a magazine, and many others. The 2nd years presented their work to the 1st years on Thursday and Friday of last week, and they were so proud of all of their hard work and presentations. Mr Betts and Ms O’ Sullivan were amazed at the variety of ideas and projects, the standard of the presentations, and how engaged the 2nd years were with this very worthwhile programme. Well done to all 2nd years!