Books containing messages to help educate children about violence against women and girls are being written for nurseries, pre-schools and primary schools in the West Midlands.
The Dog, Duck and Cat books are aimed at children aged 3 – 7 years old and are designed to support conversations about aggression, bullying and consent.
The region’s Violence Reduction Partnership (VRP), which was set up to prevent and reduce violence in 2019, is behind the scheme and is funding the development of the books. The VRP delivers and funds a wide range of projects to reduce the likelihood of young people becoming victims of violence.
The latest project comes as the number of domestic abuse related offences recorded by police jumped by two thirds in just 4 years. In 2019 there were 39,172 domestic abuse offences recorded, but by 2022 that number had jumped to 65,974. Some of this increase is thought to be down to improvements in how crimes are recorded.
There are four short digital stories currently being written and illustrated and they’ll be rolled out over the next few months, combined with activities to help teachers reinforce the messages in the classroom.
The books will be used in schools right across the West Midlands.
The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, Simon Foster, said: “If we are to prevent and tackle violence and aggression in adulthood, then we must look closely at the conversations we are having with our children.
“These books will help make sure children, across our region, have the right values and understand acceptable behaviour into their teenage and adult lives.”
Jon Bull is the author of The Dog, Duck and Cat books, he said: “We want to try to ensure that children grow up knowing that we are all equal.
“The Dog, Duck and Cat Trust are proud to be working with the VRP on this new set of four stories and we can’t wait to launch them so that parents and carers, and nurseries and schools, can use them with their children.
Jenny Durnall is the Leading Practitioner from Crocketts Community Primary in Smethwick, she said: “We absolutely love the resources.
“They address current issues faced by our children in today’s world. The resources show children how to keep themselves safe whilst maintaining positive relationships. Our children are familiar with the characters, and they relate to them immediately.
“The structure of the stories is familiar and supports the children’s mental model for learning.
“All vocabulary used is pertinent to the potential issues faced by children in our society today whilst being age appropriate.”
You can find the books here: https://www.dogduckandcat.co.uk/teacher-resources-ask-series