Advocacy

To advocate is to speak or act in support of or in defence of somebody, a community, or a cause.

Sexuality & consent education

"The goal of sexuality education in Victorian schools is to build knowledge, skills, and behaviours to enable young people to make responsible and safe choices." (DET)

Students have raised sexuality education as an issue in Victorian education consistently at VicSRC Congress, highlighting that sexuality education needs to be:

  • Inclusive

  • Comprehensive

  • Responsive to changing student needs and social norms

  • Consistently delivered across schools, classes, and year levels

VicSRC has worked with the Respectful Relationships teams within DET for years to support schools to implement the Respectful Relationships program in partnership with students, including the creation of the Empowering students through Respectful Relationships toolkit.

After Congress 2020 the Executive Committee developed ideas and key messages to advocate for this issue, including speaking with the Minister for Education about changes recommended by students.

Recent advocacy

Consent education gained national attention when reports of sexual harassment and assault in Parliament appeared in the media. A petition to increase consent education in schools was launched by a recently graduated student in NSW. VicSRC supported students to speak to media about their experiences at school and advocated for changes to Victorian education policy.

The Victorian Minister for Education announced that it would be mandatory for Victorian government schools to provide consent education within the sexuality education curriculum for all school aged students from 2021.

Executive Committee students spoke with mainstream print, radio and television media to show their support for the decision and provide advice and recommendations for schools. Staff and students provided policy advice to DET around changes to sexual education policy and advice on the Respectful Relationships curriculum.

VicSRC hosted a webinar to discuss how schools could provide consent education for secondary school students facilitated by Executive Committee students with a panel representing parents, DET and sexuality education experts.

What's happening now?

VicSRC continues to provide advice to government around sexuality education in schools as schools work to implement this new requirement, including being part of the Respectful Relationships Advisory Group and consulting on the updates to the Respectful Relationships resources.

VicSRC is also involved in conversations and specific advocacy around professional learning for teachers co-designed by students to improve delivery of the existing curriculum.

What does this mean for students?

Your school should provide you with comprehensive and age-appropriate sexuality education.

All Victorian schools are implementing the Respectful Relationships program – find out which teacher at your school is the Respectful Relationships lead to find out more about the program and how students can be involved in it at your school.