Consent Education Now Mandatory in Schools
An important addition to the Australian Curriculum: Consent Education – Why is it needed and what will it look like?
Did you know, that from next year mandatory consent education will be introduced into The Australian Curriculum for all students in Prep to Year 10?
The news comes as Education Ministers from across Australia unanimously agreed that the need for consent education is just as important within our school system as core subjects such as English, Maths and Science.
The change to the curriculum was prompted by brave voices uncovered through a nationwide Instagram poll that found the number of school children who had experienced sexual assault was devastatingly high.
Shadow Education for Minister, Tanya Plibersek, stated that “understanding consent empowers and protects young people”, echoing the sentiments of many adolescents who reported that the current state-of-play in consent education is ‘atrocious’ and ‘light years behind’ the prevalence and reality of sexual violence.
So, what will the change look like for kids, parents and carers?
For all children, age-appropriate consent-based education will be included as apart of health and physical education from 2023 onwards.
In primary schools, children will be taught about seeking permission and being respectful of others’ personal space, belongings, words and feelings.
Discussions on what ‘no’ looks like; what ‘yes’ looks like; why it’s sometimes hard to say ‘no’; what it means to feel safe and how to set personal boundaries will also be explored.
In high schools, the curriculum will expand on these concepts and introduce more complex ideas including the role power imbalances play in the unfair or unequal treatment of self or others; how power dynamics affect consent; equality, diversity and inclusion; protective behaviours; privacy, intuition and self-awareness matters; how to identify attitudes and behaviours; and where to get help if things don’t feel right.
How can you support children in your care?
The importance of consent education cannot be underestimated and extends beyond the schooling system. Parents, carers and the wider community can also play a role in shifting the way young people view consent. Children learn by osmosis and mimic the behaviours and attitudes of the adults in their life. A home full of love and courtesy where adults and children listen to each other and set appropriate boundaries that are acknowledged and respected, provides the best foundation for children to learn about safety, respect and consent. There are also some great books and resources designed to start conversations with kids about informed consent.
Here are some books we recommend you check out: