NSW schools vow to fix consent education
NSW education leaders have publicly pledged to improve consent education in the state’s schools, after thousands of current and former school students came forward with stories of sexual assault.
The heads of the Catholic, independent and state school systems on Friday signed a statement of intent, after meeting with NSW Police about the issue in early March.
The move comes after more than 38,000 people signed a petition, started by former Sydney schoolgirl Chanel Contos, calling for earlier and better education around consent in schools.
The petition is accompanied by thousands of harrowing stories of sexual assault suffered by students – many from private, single-sex schools across Sydney.
NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell says the shocking testimonies created momentum for change across the country.
The statement of intent is an acknowledgement of the crucial role schools have to play, and a commitment to the people who have bravely spoken out.
“We will do whatever is in our power as leaders and educators to make sure their sisters, or their daughters, and their friends, and future generations do not have to give similar testimony,” she said.
The statement identifies curriculum changes, increased support for teachers and school leaders, better communication with students and improved community and parent connections as starting points.
“We commit to identifying and taking concrete actions that will strengthen children and young people’s ability to form healthy relationships and prevent harmful situations, both at school and outside the school gates,” the statement reads.
The NSW Youth Advisory Council and the Minister’s Student Council will work with the sector on next steps.
Similar reviews into consent education in schools are underway in several states.