It’s a big step in the right direction for Victorian education after the Victorian government shared their plans to make consent education mandatory in all public schools.
Not only will children be educated on respectful relationships, puberty and sex, but also consent. This is something that is touched on but isn’t given nearly enough focus.
It’s also something that NEEDS to be addressed to each and every one of our kids.
What consent education will look like
The consent education revamp is slated to start next month. Under the updated program for students in younger years, the teaching of consent may begin with mandated conversations about good and bad touching and appropriately asking permission to use a classmate’s toy.
Older students would examine more complex scenarios relating to sexual consent.
The adjustment will also include professional development for teachers so they know what to say and how to approach this often sensitive subject with clarity. This is a program that should be rolled out nation-wide and, in order to do so, teachers must be trained on what this lesson will look like.
Hopes that all Australian schools will follow
While Victoria state schools have confirmed the program will start next month, there are talks in other states, including NSW and Queensland, about revamping their consent education programs as well.
The plan is for all Australian schools to expand their consent education. And soon!
According to the SMH, The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority is already in talks with experts with plans to release proposed content changes to the broader national curriculum next month.
Currently, consent education is embedded in the health and physical education component of the national curriculum. However, according to ACARA curriculum director Janet Davey, it “may not be sufficient”.
It’s about time
One of the many reasons for the decision to expand the consent education curriculum comes after weeks of troubling allegations of assault and harassment by school students.
Recently several students have come forward from schools in Melbourne and Sydney, detailing experiences of sexual harassment at their schools. Some of the schools include Melbourne’s Haileybury, Wesley College, St Kevin’s and Xavier College.
Former student’s petition encourages action
Former Sydney student, Chanel Contos also played an incredibly important role in bringing the importance of consent education front and centre. She started a petition requesting earlier and more holistic consent education in the NSW curriculum. It gathered more than 30,000 signatures.
Another petition calling for consent to be included in ALL Australian schools’ sex education has gathered about 38,000 signatures and more than 3,500 testimonies. These numbers speak for themselves.
We’re so happy to see the government officials are taking these requests and allegations seriously. Fingers crossed consent education is rolled out in all Australian schools ASAP.
Consent education at home
In the meantime, take the time to have a conversation with your kids about the importance of consent.
Below is a video that easily explains it using a cup of tea analogy. It’s a popular video but doesn’t go into specifics. However, it is a good ice breaker to get the conversation rolling with your kids.