The Courier-Mail

Sex education revolution

Children as young as four to learn key life tools

- NATASHA BITA

SEXUAL consent will be taught to children as young as 14, while primary school kids will learn about violence against women, under new “respectful relationsh­ip” lessons to tackle sexual assaults among school students.

More than 350 videos, digital stories, podcasts and other lesson materials will be available free to teachers, students and families through The Good Society website, as part of the Respect Matters program.

Kids as young as four will learn about empathy, peer pressure, interactin­g respectful­ly and “challengin­g discrimina­tory behaviour”, in lessons for primary school students. High school students in years 7 to 9 will learn about “relationsh­ips and power, and abuse”.

Abuse and violence against women will also be dealt with in the lessons for younger teenagers, to be released on Wednesday by federal Minister for Education and Youth

Alan Tudge and Minister for Women’s Safety Anne Ruston.

Older teens will learn about intimate relationsh­ips, sexting and sexual consent and decision making, in lessons for years 10 to 12.

The new sex education curriculum aims to prevent domestic violence among the next generation of young adults, and stamp out shocking evidence of sexual assaults between high school students.

The Respect Matters program has been developed by Our Watch, the eSafety Commission­er and the Foundation for Young Australian­s, as well as parent, community and principals’ groups.

The lesson material for children from kindy and prep, through to year 12, is in line with the Australian Curriculum, which was agreed by all the states and territorie­s in 2015 and will be reviewed this year.

Teachers will be able to choose what content to teach in their classrooms to reflect the values of their schools and communitie­s.

Mr Tudge said education was important in building and maintainin­g respectful relationsh­ips from a young age.

“The most important people in teaching kids about respect and relationsh­ips are parents, but schools can also play a vital role,” he said.

“I will be discussing these matters further with my state and territory counterpar­ts when we meet later this month,” Mr Tudge said.

Senator Ruston said early interventi­on and education were key to a future without domestic violence.

“We need to work on preventing violence before it begins,” she said.

“School years are crucial in a child’s developmen­t and we want to guarantee that whether it be at home, at school or even playing weekend sport, that kids and their parents have been informed about what is respectful behaviour and what is not.”

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