Beacon: Healthy Relationships

The Centre’s Beacon Projects aspire to exemplify the ways in which the Centre aims to create and sustain cultures and environments of health through transdisciplinary engaged research.


Transforming relationships and relationship transitions with and for the next generation: Healthy Relationship Transitions (HeaRT) and Education (HeaRE)

Professor Anne Barlow
Dr Tamsin Newlove-Delgado
Dr Jan Ewing
Dr Chris Boyle
Simon Benham-Clarke

Our work is concerned with transitions into and out of relationships throughout the lifespan and their impact on mental and physical health. We focus in particular on children and young people, in terms of how they can develop the skills needed to have healthy relationships in the future, and how they might be supported to cope with parental relationship breakdown and future relationship transitions of their own. Relationships and sex education will form part of the curriculum from September 2020, yet evidence suggests many schools are not well prepared to deliver the aspects which focus on healthy relationships rather than on sex. This project is a partnership between the Law School, the Medical School, and the Graduate School of Education.

In the HeaRT strand of this programme, we are focussing on the impact of parental relationship breakdown on children and young people, and how young people and adults can learn skills to cope better with transitioning into and out of a range of relationships across the life course. This work includes studying the implementation of Child Inclusive Mediation and children’s perspectives on this, working with mediation agencies, relationship counsellors, and the Family Justice Young People’s Board.

In the HeaRE strand, we are currently exploring the best ways to co-develop messages and materials about healthy relationships together with young people which can be used in schools, based on the core attributes and key skills identified by the Shackleton project. We are also carrying out qualitative research to better understand young people’s perspectives on the most important outcomes of relationship education, which will inform further work on outcome measurement and evaluation.

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