1. Purpose of the Key Messages
The key messages on healthy relationships and consent have been developed as part of the Scottish Government’s work on supporting positive relationships and sexual wellbeing in young people. The messages set out that relationships should be mutually respectful, consensual, positive, healthy and enjoyable. They are applicable to all romantic relationships – from those that are about holding hands to those where young people are sexually active, regardless of whether they are in same sex or mixed sex relationships.
The messages are intended for professionals who work with young people (described here as being secondary age to young adult) using their own professional judgement to determine when the messages are age and stage appropriate for the young person or people with whom they are working.
An age and stage appropriate resource aimed at professionals working with younger children is being developed separately.
For some young people, these messages will communicate information that will be of use to them in the future. For others, the information will be pertinent right now, to help them negotiate their relationships and identify when their own, or others’, behaviour is non-consensual, abusive or unhealthy.
The intention is that this resource can be used by any professional or organisation to ensure that communication with young people on the topics of healthy relationships and consent is consistent.
The messages can be incorporated into any work with young people. For example, education about relationships, sexual health and parenthood (RSHP), information campaigns, one-to-one or group work, or into general discussions with young people. They can be used as part of structured sessions or opportunistically/at teachable moments. In doing so, the intention is that a positive understanding of healthy relationships and consent will be consolidated over time.