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Rape claims lead to state review of how we teach consent

The teaching of sexual consent in Queensland schools will be reviewed amid ongoing reports of rape from current and former students.

Mar 10, 2021, updated Mar 10, 2021

Education Minister Grace Grace says the review comes after disturbing stories from young Queenslanders about sexual violence as part of a national campaign started by 22-year-old Sydney woman Chanel Contos.

“While I am sure we all agree that it is a responsibility of parents, carers and society more broadly to educate and support young people in addressing issues of sexual harassment, assault and consent, we also recognise that education and schools are part of the solution,” Grace told parliament on Wednesday.

“The time is right to examine education on these matters in all Queensland schools.”

The review will examine whether the Respectful Relationships program addresses sexual consent and reporting and if the physical education curriculum is addressing the needs of students.

Grace will also seek the views of young people on respectful relationships education through her student advisory council.

The move to address sexual consent among young people comes amid rising calls for systemic change in addressing sexual assault across the country.

In particular, Contos’ Teach Us Consent campaign encouraged thousands of people to share stories of assault and harassment suffered while they were at school.

Her movement wants consent, related to sexual activity, to be taught earlier in schools and to include lessons about toxic masculinity, rape culture, slut-shaming, victim-blaming, sexual coercion, enthusiastic consent, and queer sex.

She started the movement three weeks ago, using her Instagram account to call for stories of rape from graduates of Sydney’s single-sex private schools.

Contos has been publishing confronting testimonies on a website – teachusconsent.com – where almost 30,000 people have already signed a petition for earlier consent education.

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