Prin­ci­pals given guide to nav­i­gate sex­ting epi­demic

The Western Star - - News - Clare Masters

THE rise of the ‘send nudes’ cul­ture is so rife in schools the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment has been forced to step in, with the eSafety Com­mis­sioner and the AFP de­vel­op­ing a guide to help prin­ci­pals nav­i­gate the epi­demic among stu­dents.

The guide, avail­able to all schools on­line, rec­om­mends all teach­ers be trained in how to han­dle sex­ting and warned to not “de­lib­er­ately view the ma­te­rial” and to learn how to man­age the de­vice and when to en­gage po­lice.

The guide will help prin­ci­pals deal with the shar­ing of ex­plicit ma­te­rial such as “sex­ting, naked self­ies or nudes” and will im­prove the qual­ity and num­ber of re­ports schools pro­vide to po­lice; giv­ing guide­lines on man­ag­ing ev­i­dence to help the in­ves­ti­ga­tion process.

It is in line with the rec­om­men­da­tions of the Royal Com­mis­sion into In­sti­tu­tional Re­sponses to Child Sex­ual Abuse, which said schools were of­ten fail­ing to in­ves­ti­gate and re­port in­ci­dents, and is part of a larger body of work to help schools cre­ate child safe en­vi­ron­ments.

eSafety Com­mis­sioner Julie Inman Grant said it helped keep in­for­ma­tion con­sis­tent within a frag­mented ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem.

Of the ex­plicit im­age shar­ing re­ports made to eSafety, one-third in­volve chil­dren un­der the age of 18. The com­mis­sion found a fur­ther nine out of 10 young peo­ple thought that sex­ting hap­pened among their peers “as a kind of courtship be­hav­iour”, and one in three had ex­pe­ri­enced sex­ting.

Ms Inman Grant said sex­ting was a “new kind of peer pres­sure” that had re­de­fined how young peo­ple con­duct re­la­tion­ships and that many young peo­ple now sent nudes as ‘se­cond base’ be­fore kiss­ing.

Aus­tralian Fed­eral Po­lice act­ing man­ager child pro­tec­tion Ma­rina Si­moncini said:

“Cre­at­ing, shar­ing, and stor­ing naked or par­tially naked ma­te­rial of a per­son un­der the age of 18 years old can be an of­fence and may be con­sid­ered child sex­ual abuse ma­te­rial, even if a young per­son has taken or pro­duced the ma­te­rial them­selves.”

The guide, de­vel­oped by the eSafety Com­mis­sioner with the Aus­tralian Fed­eral Po­liceled Aus­tralian Cen­tre to Counter Child Ex­ploita­tion and the ThinkUKnow pro­gram in­cludes who to in­volve, where to re­port, how to deal with the ma­te­rial, and when to con­sult with po­lice.

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