Mandatory: Consent education will be taught in all schools from next year | The Examiner


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Consent will be a key part of the school health agenda next year after state and federal education ministers unanimously agreed to make consent-based education mandatory from 2023. The decision was confirmed by Senator Jonathon Duniam on behalf of Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan in Senate Estimates Thursday. Mother Helen Mundy welcomed the move, but said any changes to the program would have to be made from a “trauma-informed lens”. “To me, trauma-informed consent means promoting empowerment…so that students can move from being a place of silence to being able to challenge misconceptions about what is and isn’t consent,” said she declared. Ms Mundy, who is the president of the Parents and Caregivers Association at Wagga High School, based in Riverina in New South Wales, said consistency in public and private school curricula will be important. “We try to educate the community as a whole, not just the kids in one group,” she said. “Because the whole issue is that…domestic violence, consent issues and sexual assault issues affect the whole community.” Wagga Christian College principal Phillip Wilson said he was waiting to see details of the program change, which would be released after the education ministers meeting in April. IN OTHER NEWS: He said his school already teaches consent in physical education and health classes, as well as ethics and Christian studies classes. “That includes what relationships look like, what we think is an appropriate way to approach relationships, and what happens when relationships aren’t working out really well,” Wilson said. “At the moment, I don’t see how that changes anything, because we’re already seeing that consent is such an important part of relationships. “For us…it’s about sharing some of those stories and giving people the means to talk about what meaningful relationships look like. The push to make consent a mandatory subject in schools was led by former Sydney Private School pupil Chanel Contos. In February 2021, Ms Contos was inundated with responses to an Instagram poll asking followers if they or someone they knew had been sexually assaulted ‘by someone who went to an all boys’ school.’ The poll led Ms Contos to start the ‘Teach Us Consent’ petition which has received more than 44,000 signatures and 6,700 people sharing their stories of sexual assault.In an Instagram post, Ms. Contos said the new program “will incorporate comprehensive consent education, including an understanding of gender stereotypes, coercion and power imbalances”.



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