Jewish Women’s Aid has launched a fundraising drive to expand our education department, in response to the nationally reported allegations of widespread sexual harassment and abuse of girls and young women by their peers. Over 30 testimonies related to Jewish schools and university J-socs were posted on the Everyone’s Invited website, including accounts of rape, abuse and harassment.

Since the allegations in March, Jewish Women’s Aid has met with school leaders and proactively offered schools and youth movements our support to develop a culture of respect in our community’s educational settings, utilising our expertise in healthy relationships education. We are also working closely with Pajes, UJS and Reshet to ensure a joined up cross-communal approach.

In order to offer the level of support needed to students, teachers and parents, we need to urgently raise £200,000 to increase capacity in the education team, allowing more sessions to be planned and delivered.

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In 2019-20, our existing educational programming reached about 3,000 Jewish young people and educational professionals. Whilst this reach is considerable, these are usually one-off sessions, when what is really needed is a whole school approach, developed together with the school, which is more in-depth and bespoke to the school’s ethos and needs. We also need to expand the number of school leaders and education professionals we can offer support to, and begin to interface directly with parents, who are reaching out to us informally for information and support.

CEO Naomi Dickson said, “Over the past six weeks, we’ve been contacted by schools, parents and a number of girls and young women too. What we’re hearing is that some girls feel scared, unheard and preyed upon, and boys feel accused and unsure how to respond.

"We have the experience and expertise at Jewish Women’s Aid to provide them with what they need: the tools to shape a culture of consent and respect, where sexual harassment has no place. But we can’t do that without additional funding, which is why we’ve taken the decision to call on the community for their support.”

More on Jewish Women’s Aid’s education work

For over 15 years, Jewish Women’s Aid has been delivering education work in schools, teaching 11–18 year-olds about what makes relationships healthy and unhealthy, discussing consent and themes such as rape culture and toxic masculinity.

We also offer our Safer Dating programme for 16-24 year-olds at schools, youth movements and on campus, focusing on consent, harassment and sexism, and in August 2020 we launched a joint initiative with UJS and University Jewish Chaplaincy to reach even more students with the Safer Dating programme in light of the allegations of sexual assault made against the AePi Jewish fraternity at St Andrew’s University.

Support services for young women

Jewish Women’s Aid supports young women and girls aged 16+ (14+ in London) with advocacy and counselling. We have a specialist Young Women’s Support Worker who is currently supporting 10 women aged 14-24. We are also supporting 7 young women aged 29 or under with counselling, including for sexual violence. Women under 30 make up about 12 per cent of our clients, and common themes for this younger age group are higher levels of stalking, harassment, self-harm and sexual assault.