The issue of consent – particularly in relation to healthy and consensual sexual relationships – has arisen in the media in recent weeks. This has, in part, been driven by a petition initiated by Sydney schoolgirls, who are asking for better education around the idea of consent.
At Hume, our wellbeing program in Years 7-12 includes educating all students on respectful relationships, which includes the fundamental elements of setting and maintaining boundaries. Nevertheless, the recent media coverage has made us ask questions of our wellbeing program and we are looking at our programs to ensure that, at each age and stage of their development, students have a relevant and explicit understanding of consent.
Of course, consent as a concept is not only related to intimate relationships; indeed, it is something that we should teach children from the earliest ages, to assist them in understanding themselves and others. Further, and reflecting the School’s approach to all its teaching and learning programs, educating young people on issues like this is best achieved when the School and parents are both involved in the process.
It is vital that parents maintain open communication channels with their children during the teenage years. Even the most difficult conversations are worth having; the better educated young people are, the more equipped they become to make informed, safe, relevant choices for themselves.
Below, please find links to two very recent and helpful resources about consent.
‘Not as simple as no means no’ – article by Dr Jacqueline Hendriks
‘A conversation on consent’ – video by Dr Michael Carr-Gregg