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Consent education is now mandatory in all Victorian public schools

The Victorian government will work with education experts and young people to develop a state-wide consent education program.

“This [consent education program] will build on the [Respectful Relationships program],” Employment Minister Jaala Pulford said at a press conference. “What we’re hearing from students is that they believe that an expansion and a greater depth to [understanding consent] is required,” she continued.

Employment Minister Jaala Pulford said teaching school students about sexual consent is a “very important step” and something young people felt was lacking in the current system.

victoria consent education

“We’ll work with education experts and also young people to understand where the opportunities are for the best possible education for boys and girls, and people who are almost young men and young women, in the school system in a way that’s age-appropriate but also provides a very deep understanding for everyone about what consent means and why it matters,” Pulford said.

Previously, the Respectful Relationships initiative covered sexuality and safety around STIs, but with the proposed changes, it will now explicitly teach how to give and accept consent.

The Victorian government’s move comes after weeks of national turbulence surrounding sexual harassment, misogyny, and consent issues – Brittany Higgins, Christian Porter, and Chantel Contos’ petition for consent education come to mind.

 

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In the case of the latter, more than 38,200 girls – as young as 13, Australia-wide – have come forward with allegations against young men who attended all-boys schools. With what started out as an Instagram poll, Contos’ petition to include consent earlier in the education system has now fuelled the national conversation surrounding sexual assault and toxic masculinity in Australia.

 

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