Merched Cymru responds to the Cass Report

We welcome the release today of the final report of the independent review of gender identity services for children and young people, commissioned by NHS England and chaired by Dr Hilary Cass. It is a very substantial piece of work, four years in the making, and we’ll respond more fully to its research and recommendations in due course. While some of the findings were anticipated, it is nevertheless shocking to see the facts in print. Continue reading “Merched Cymru responds to the Cass Report”

A new Vale of Glamorgan Transgender Toolkit – still putting children at risk

While waiting for the long-delayed Welsh national guidance, the Vale of Glamorgan has pressed ahead with adopting its own transgender toolkit for schools. While it’s a huge improvement on the previous version, adopted in 2018, it still suggests that social transition (changing a child’s name, pronouns and access to opposite sex spaces and sports, and treating them as if they had changed sex) should be available on a case by case basis.

Parents and schools need to ask – who’s taking responsibility for such decisions and their consequences? Continue reading “A new Vale of Glamorgan Transgender Toolkit – still putting children at risk”

Mixed sex toilets in Wales’ schools – breaking the law

New and refurbished school buildings across Wales are imposing mixed sex toilet facilities on children. These toilets are not compliant with the law, and present considerable problems, particularly for girls.

Merched Cymru’s research shows that 15% of Welsh secondary schools surveyed have only mixed sex toilet provision, with many more having some or most of their provision in mixed sex blocks with shared handwashing facilities, which are not compliant with the regulations. Continue reading “Mixed sex toilets in Wales’ schools – breaking the law”

Every girl needs a best friend

Adolescence is a tricky period in a girl’s life. From rapid changes in your body to the prospect of adult relationships it’s a time of huge upheaval – all too often coming alongside exams and other academic pressures. Fortunately, girls are often surrounded by allies to help them through this passage of their lives: their friends. The friendships you form in your teens stay with you your whole life – it’s a deep bond, burned in deeper than your first kiss.

We turn to our friends when we need help in this period of our lives. Parents can be too busy, or too old, too tied up in their own problems. Teachers don’t always seem to have the time. And some things are just too embarrassing to talk about with an adult. They wouldn’t get it. But your friends do: they’re navigating the same sea, after all. Continue reading “Every girl needs a best friend”

Sexual violence and the abuse of our girls

One thing I have learnt through working in this field for so long is that every act of VAWDASV (violence against women, domestic abuse & sexual violence), however small or seemingly inconsequential is linked. No act is an isolated incident, and in fact they often directly link with each other or are inter-related. Like links in a chain. Building one upon the other until you have a full chain of entrapment around you.

The level of harassment and abuse which girls face on a daily basis, in school and outside of it is staggering. I need to make it clear here that adults, whether parents, caretakers or teachers, really do not understand the scale of the problem. If you think you do. Double it. Treble it. Girls experience abuse, violence and harassment in ways unheard of in the previous generation. Social media and technology mean they are vulnerable and accessible to abusers 24 hrs a day. Continue reading “Sexual violence and the abuse of our girls”