A COURSE teaching boys how to have healthy relationships is set to go national after being piloted in three schools in the BCP Council area.

The course was created by ex-police officer Sharon Ellis-Gillard, who spent 20 years working in domestic abuse and child protection services.

She said: “The more girls I spoke to I was thinking well why aren’t we speaking to boys, we’re here to empower the girls, why aren’t we talking to boys.

“So, I wrote a boy’s programme, I only employ retired police officers, there is a team of four of us and we did a pilot for the boy’s programme.

“We ran it for six weeks, in three senior schools in Bournemouth and Poole and the outcome was brilliant.”

Sharon wrote the boys programme following the death of Sarah Everard, who’s body was found hidden in woodland after she was killed by Met Police officer Wayne Couzens.

Sharon said: “Week five of the programme is the reason why I wrote it, because of Sarah Everard. Week 5 is called how to treat girls with respect and how to make them feel safer.

“After week five, one of the boys wrote on a post-it note ‘I’m really sad that I’ve been scaring girls and I didn’t realise I was'.

“The boys were surprised about how they had been treating girls but more so about how the girls felt about it.”

Sharon has now decided to run week five as its own entity because the boys said that every boy in year 9 and 10 needs to listen to it.

Other sessions in the six-week programme discuss mental health, suicide, self-harm, boys feelings and influences like pornography.

Sharon said: “The two males that do the boys programme are ex-police officers and the boys always ask questions like what is the difference between sexual assault and sexual harassment and I don’t think that a lot of them understand the difference.

“So, to have somebody to sit down with them who has worked in that field to discuss what sexual assault it and what sexual harassment is and the repercussions of that, you could go to prison and it’s having that frank discussion, in a field that we know really well.

“It’s an eye-opener for them because I think a lot of parents don’t understand.”

The programme comes with a copyrighted manual through the six week process, so that anyone can teach it.

The two days of training will be done via zoom or teams, so that the programme can be taken anywhere nationally.

For more information about the programme, visit the Safempowerment website safempowerment.co.uk or email contact@safempowerment.co.uk