About S.H.A.R.E. Programme
How can you spot an unhealthy relationship? How do you know which parts of porn are unrealistic? And how do you know for sure if your partner is consenting?
Young people ask questions like these all the time. It’s time we did more to help them find the answers.
Introducing the S.H.A.R.E. Programme. Supporting the education of young people in this very important area, Richie Sadlier and Elaine Byrnes offer this new online course in sexual health and relationships, the first of its kind in Ireland.
Developed in collaboration with Olive Media, the S.H.A.R.E. Programme is a response to the growing need to provide relationship and sexuality education that is objective, fact-based, inclusive, and comprehensive.
The primary aim of this course is to support young people to have healthy, safe and enjoyable experiences in their personal relationships.
Informed by the personal, academic and professional experience of the course creators, and driven by their passion to support young people, the S.H.A.R.E. Programme provides a novel approach to delivering Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE).
About Elaine Byrnes
Elaine Byrnes, is a Doctoral Researcher at the School of Psychology, NUI, Galway. Her research areas of interest are in sexual behaviour, particularly in the negotiation of consent; and how this may be mediated by gender, drugs and alcohol in young people. She is an experienced facilitator of Consent Workshops at third level. Her work on developing the Smart Consent initiative resulted in a nomination for the Outstanding Contribution to Student Life Award by the USI (Union of Students in Ireland).
At second level, Elaine has developed and co-facilitated a sexual health module for Transition Year students and has been an invited speaker on sexual health, consent and online safety to both students and parents. She has also been nominated for the President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching at NUI, Galway.
She was the 2019 recipient of the Higher Education Authority Making an Impact Award for her research.
Elaine has been an academic advisor and member of the expert Scoping Group on the content of a national survey of sexual violence appointed by the Department of Justice.
Elaine is also a TEDx speaker. Her key message is that we can reduce the risk of sexual assault and violence through comprehensive sexuality education – with consent at its core – for all young people.
She was a member of the USI National Advisory Panel 2018/19 (Consent) and is a regular media contributor.
About Richie Sadlier
Richie is an accredited psychotherapist with a passion for supporting adolescent development.
In addition to running his own private practice in south Dublin, he created modules in sexual health and mental fitness which he delivered to the Transition Year students of St Benildus from 2014-2019. He is a regular contributor to RTE television & radio on issues relating to young people, consent, sexual health and emotional wellbeing. He regularly speaks in secondary schools promoting positive well-being and help-seeking behaviour among the students.
A former professional footballer, he is perhaps most widely known for his role on the RTE panel analysing international, domestic and Champions League football. Richie released his memoir, Recovering, in 2019, which was named the An Post Sports Book of the Year. He was awarded a Higher Diploma in Counselling & Psychotherapy in 2012, an MA in Psychotherapy in 2014, and to enhance his strong commitment to supporting adolescents and their parents, he completed an MSc in Adolescent Psychotherapy in 2019.
He is an accredited member of the Irish Association of Humanistic and Integrative Psychotherapy (IAHIP).
S.H.A.R.E. Programme Modules
The richness of adolescent sexuality is explored during this opening module, where students are given an outline of the programme and a description of the ethos underlying our approach.
We look at pleasure, sexuality and desire in a validating and informative way, and explore how attitudes to gender can impact decisions and expectations in relationships. With the primary aim of supporting young people’s personal journey, the programme sets out from this point to be fact-based, objective, inclusive and fun.
Acknowledging the space for individual expression and personal preferences, module 2 is an exploration of how to form and maintain respectful and healthy relationships.
From navigating the landscape of social media to learning how to end relationships in a healthy way, students also engage with hypothetical dilemmas to help recognise and respond to unhealthy, abusive or harmful behaviour.
Consent is the focus of module 3.
Students will engage with explanations of the concept, developing their understanding of how it is effectively communicated and achieved.
Going beyond the sloganeering that often limits the scope of these discussions, students are given the opportunity to apply their learning to hypothetical dilemmas presented at the end of the module.
Given the widespread availability and accessibility of online porn, and the reluctance many adults have in discussing it with teenagers, we believe it is essential to address porn and its potential impact on sexual health.
The depiction of sex and relationships in pornography is the focus of module 4.
We acknowledge the appropriateness of adolescent curiosity and the role porn can play in the exploration of adolescent sexuality, but also offer students a chance to critically reflect on some of the more harmful and unhealthy messages implicit in much of pornography.
Understanding that alcohol is involved in the early sexual experiences of many young people in Ireland, it is important to explore and highlight how this could impact sexual experiences.
Without judgement on alcohol consumption, module 5 outlines how the influence of alcohol can impact decision-making and behaviour.
Bringing together earlier learning related to consent, safety, healthy behaviour and respect, students engage with hypothetical dilemmas to help apply their learning to real-life scenarios.
While acknowledging the prevalence of risk-taking during adolescence, module 6 promotes the importance of sexual health and the value of protecting ourselves and our partners from unplanned consequences.
We promote personal and joint responsibility in preventing the spread of infections. The range of contraceptive options are presented, the purpose of which is to support students to make informed decisions in this area.