Webinar: “Sex Ed”: Young people, consent and the Australian curriculum
Adolescence is a time where ideas and beliefs about relationships, including gender roles and sex, are being developed. Sexual and consent education occurs through various pathways including schools, youth services, the media, families and parenting, and peers and pornography. Evidence shows that pornography impacts knowledge, attitudes and beliefs about sex, intimacy, consent and relationships among young people. By improving the sexual and consent education we provide to young people, we are better able to control the message, promote healthy relationships and help prevent violence against women.
The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) have proposed changes to enhance sexual and consent education in schools. This update to the Australian curriculum is currently out for public consultation, which provides an opportunity for the domestic and family violence sector to contribute to this discussion.
The expert panel will draw on their diverse experiences and research to discuss the rationale for the changes, the role of digital cultures in young people’s relationships and sexual learning, and opportunities for sexual and consent education.
The discussion will be facilitated by Michele Robinson (ANROWS) with:
- Janice Atkin, Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA)
- Professor Kath Albury, Swinburne University of Technology
- Anne-Marie Henley, SHINE SA
- Professor Alan McKee, University of Technology Sydney
- Professor Helen Cahill, University of Melbourne
- Oliver Keane, SHINE SA
- Kim Henderson, Our Watch
There will also be a live Q&A.
This webinar is designed for policymakers, practice design decision-makers, practitioners and researchers working in domestic and family violence, education and the community services sector.
The webinar is open to anyone and free to attend. A recording of the webinar will also be available on the ANROWS website.
Janice Atkin has worked as a curriculum consultant for the past 20 years, initially with the NSW Department of Education and as a freelance consultant with a range of government and not-for-profit organisations. She has recently returned to the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) to lead the Review of the Australian Curriculum: Health and Physical Education. She works part-time as a professional learning officer for ACHPER NSW and in her spare time is learning to be a farmer.
Professor Kath Albury
Kath Albury is Professor of Media and Communication at Swinburne University of Technology. She co-leads Swinburne Social Innovation Research Institute’s Digital Inclusion program, and is an Associate Investigator in the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society. Since 1997, Kath has collaborated on interdisciplinary projects across the fields of sexual health, sexuality education and primary prevention of sexual violence with a range of industry partners including Family Planning NSW, the National Association of People Living with HIV/AIDS, the Australian National Rugby League, and the Alannah and Madeline Foundation. Past projects have focused on practices of sexed and gendered self-representation in digital media; digital and data literacies in health and education organisations; and young people’s formal and informal learning in digital cultures.
Anne-Marie is a proud Maramanindji woman from the Daly River region of the Northern Territory. She worked for the Australian Government in different organisations before taking a position with the Department for Education South Australia, working for 15 years as an Aboriginal community education officer (ACEO) across a variety of schools. She has been at SHINE SA since 2017 and, since 2020, has been the Education Advisor: Aboriginal Focus as well as co-facilitating the Teaching It Like It Is Aboriginal course to give a holistic Aboriginal perspective. She believes it is fundamental that all young people and educators have access to relevant, accurate and age-appropriate information and resources regarding the diverse and complex issues around relationships and sexual health as they relate to all of us.
Professor Alan McKee
Professor Alan McKee is an expert on entertainment and healthy sexual development. He recently completed an Australian Research Council Discovery Project entitled “Pornography’s effects on audiences: Explaining contradictory research data”. He also worked on an ARC Linkage Project with True (previously Family Planning Queensland) to investigate the use of vulgar comedy to reach young men with information about healthy sexual development. He was co-editor of the Girlfriend Guide to Life and co-author of Objectification: On the Difference between Sex and Sexism (2020). He has published on healthy sexual development and entertainment education for healthy sexuality in journals including the Archives of Sexual Behavior, the International Journal of Sexual Health, the Journal of Sex Research and Sex Education.
Professor Helen Cahill
Helen Cahill is from the Graduate School of Education at the University of Melbourne, where she leads a body of research addressing child and youth wellbeing. She is a leading innovator of Australian wellbeing interventions addressing mental health, social and emotional learning, resilience, respectful relationships and drug education. She has authored over 100 publications, including over 40 wellbeing prevention education programs for schools and communities. She is lead author of the Resilience, Rights and Respectful Relationships program. This is an evidence-informed social and emotional learning and respectful relationships program developed for each level from Foundation to Years 11–12, provided open access by the Victorian Department of Education.
Oliver Keane is a primary educator from Adelaide, who has worked with SHINE SA for just over 2 years. In his role with the Schools Education and Support Team he delivers training and ongoing support to teachers who are delivering Relationships and Sexual Health Education across a variety of year levels, to ensure they feel skilled and confident to deliver the topic! Prior to this he worked for headspace in the Community Engagement Team, which involved him creating safe spaces for young people to access mental health services with less stigma and barriers. Over his career he has found a passion in supporting schools and services to make learning relevant and accessible to the diversity of students within schools, and loves the opportunity to help create positive social change.
Kim is passionate about the primary prevention of violence against women (VAW) and a committed advocate for gender equality and women’s rights. She has extensive experience in developing, managing, implementing and evaluating VAW and broader gender equality strategies, policies and programmes having worked for over 20 years on social policy and programmes in domestic and international contexts. Her work has, spanned non-profit, multilateral and government organisations, as well as the Australian Parliament. Prior to her role as Director for Policy and Evaluation at Our Watch, Kim held senior positions with Oxfam International, the United Nations Development Programme and the Australian Government. Kim holds a Master of Arts (Development Studies) from Monash University, Australia.
Michele joined ANROWS in 2017 as the Director, Evidence to Action. Michele leads the translation and dissemination of research at ANROWS to support the take-up of evidence into policy and practice, to reduce violence against women and their children. This role builds on Michele’s 18 years of experience in leadership roles developing advice and strategies on research, knowledge partnerships and exchange in a diverse range of sectors, including the prevention of violence against women and their children.