Respectful Relationships & Consent Education
WEL’s Policy Demands
- The NSW Personal Development, Health and Physical Education (PDHPE) curriculum should incorporate units of work at age appropriate stages on respectful relationships and safe consensual sexuality education as core components of learning. The participation of students in such education should be with the approval of and in cooperation with parents and carers.
The four key drivers of gender-based violence should form part of the content of these core components of the curriculum, that is:
- condoning of violence against women
- men’s control of decision-making and limits to women’s independence
- stereotyped constructions of masculinity and femininity
- disrespect toward women and male peer relations that emphasise aggression.
Schools are critical to the social as well as educational development of students: they should be socially and culturally inclusive and safe environments for all students.
WEL strongly advocates for schools to ensure that student participation, performance and achievement are not adversely affected by rigid notions of gender and gender stereotypes, setting different expectations for girls than for boys or excusing unacceptable behaviours based on gender.
NSW with other states and territories and the Federal Government supports Our Watch established as a national leader in the primary prevention of violence against women and their children. It has developed the Respectful Relationships Education Toolkit designed to help schools implement a whole schools approach to prevent gender-based violence by promoting equality and respectful relationships.
WEL considers that this Toolkit and other relevant resources should underpin mandated respectful relationships and consent education programs in NSW schools as part of an intricate tapestry of measures required to end all forms of violence against women and children.