The education sector
The education sector is very much involved in raising awareness and instituting preventive measures. Discover the types of professionals who contribute!
The Quebec education system consists primarily of public and private educational institutions that distinguish themselves from one another through the programs and services they offer. Nevertheless, all educational institutions must comply with requirements under the Education Act.
There are different levels that make up the Quebec educational system. Their mandates are as follows
The Quebec Ministry of Education and Higher Education develops and proposes policies to the government regarding the field of education.
The role of the school boards is to organize educational services prescribed by law, to promote and develop public education in its respective region, to ensure the quality of its educational services and the success of its students, all while contributing to the social, cultural and economic development of its respective region.
The school authorities implement the services and programs offered according to the priorities, needs and limitations of their institutions.
There are some schools that “don’t want to talk about it, because they are worried about how parents will react.”
— Institutional intervention worker
Framework, regulations and policies
The Education Act requires that schools offer different educational services. These include complementary educational services, which are divided into four programs, namely: support services, services related to life at school, student assistance services, and development and prevention services.
With respect to sexual exploitation, these educational services can take the form of offering students psychosocial services and activities that raise awareness of and prevent sexual exploitation (for example, awareness-raising workshops in the classroom).
Ever since the start of the school year in September 2018, sexual education courses have been mandatory, from primary school until the 11th grade, consisting of 5 to 15 hours per year. The mandatory content covers topics related to sexual exploitation, such as healthy romantic relationships, body image, self-affirmation, etc.
Types of professionals working there
Teachers, social workers, psychologists, psychoeducators and special education technicians are the professionals who generally provide psychosocial support to students at risk or in a situation of sexual exploitation.
In addition, custodians, student monitors, student life facilitators and other employees within educational institutions can intervene if a situation of sexual exploitation is suspected or is disclosed. It is therefore important to make all school personnel aware of the problem of sexual exploitation and to train them on the procedures to be followed in such cases.
“Several schools don’t want to talk about this issue, because they are worried that it will encourage youth, rather than protect them.”
— Community intervention worker
Their primary challenges
The high workload of school employees can result in a lack of time and resources to carry out awareness and prevention activities. As well, many school employees do not feel as though they are adequately trained and equipped to discuss certain topics with students.
Sexual exploitation is not a priority for some education sectors, which sometimes deny the existence of this issue among the youth attending their school.
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Complementary educational services (link only in french)
Don’t hesitate to create partnerships to improve the services offered to students in the school environment. Several local resources and organizations have pertinent prevention and awareness programs that can be offered within the school setting.
- Fédération des commissions scolaires du Québec. (s.d.). Rôle des commissions scolaires. Recovered from (link)
- Ministère de l’Éducation et de l’Enseignement supérieur. (2018). Contenus détaillés en éducation à la sexualité. Recovered from (link PDF)
- Ministère de l’Éducation et de l’Enseignement supérieur. (s.d.). Services éducatifs complémentaires. Recovered from (link)
- Proulx, S. (2017). Éducation à la sexualité obligatoire dès la rentrée. Recovered from (link)
- Y des femmes de Montréal. (2016). Agissons ensemble contre l’exploitation sexuelle des filles. Recovered from (link PDF)