Victorian state schools will implement mandatory consent classes for all students from as early as next term as news in recent weeks has proven that the message *still* isn’t getting through.
Acting Premier James Merlino, who is still filling in while Dan Andrews is on sick leave, has made the move as part of the Respectful Relationship program, with classes beginning next month.
“(Respectful Relationships) is proven to make a real difference and is a recommendation of the Royal Commission into Family Violence,” Merlino said.
“It is a program that should be rolled out nationwide. But we have to listen to students, who say they want and need a greater focus on this issue in the classroom.
“It is why we will mandate the teaching of consent in all government schools in an age-appropriate way.”
Previously, the initiative focussed mainly on relationships, sexuality and safety around STIs, but will now explicitly teach how to give and accept consent.
The decision was made after the hugely successful petition from Chanel Contos, who the government consulted when making the program in a commitment to “continue to further improve our resources to ensure they meet the needs of our schools”.
“I would encourage every other state and territory and all schools to approach this issue in the same way: listen and take action. Because our students deserve to be heard,” Merlino said.
The new initiative comes after weeks of sexual assault allegations, including more than a dozen students at Melbourne’s Wesley College who came forward with harassment and assault allegations on campus.