My Perfect Partner: Using Creative Methods to Address Gender Based Violence


  • Janette Porter
  • Kay Standing



Relationship Education, Schools, Healthy Relationships, Creative Methods


Young people aged 16-24 are most at risk of relationship abuse and intimate partner violence, The UK definition of domestic violence includes incidences of abuse between people aged 16 or over, but young people below the age of 16 are also at risk of relationship abuse. Relationship education became compulsory in schools in England and Wales in September 2020. There is increasing recognition of the need for whole school approaches to prevent gender-based violence from happening in the first place, and for equipping schools to teach relationship education and to feel more confident supporting young people affected by gender-based violence (GBV). Drawing on our experiences of delivering relationship education in both mainstream and special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) schools in England since 2012, this paper argues creative arts-based methods can be an effective tool in DA prevention and intervention. The paper explores young peoples views of healthy and unhealthy relationships, and ideals of the 'perfect partner', mediated through gender, body image and social media. We present material co-produced with young people in school, including art, drama, poetry and song. We discuss how creative methods are useful as both a research and prevention tool, and the social impact of research derived knowledge on both participants and the wider school community.