Working together to strengthen consent education
The department is working to strengthen consent education in NSW public schools. On this page, parents and carers can find the latest news on how we're doing this and useful resources to support conversations at home.
Past and present students across the state have called for improved consent education. This was sparked by a petition by former student Chanel Contos, which led to thousands of young people sharing their stories of witnessing or experiencing sexual harassment, abuse and violence amongst young people.
In March 2021, the heads of the NSW Department of Education, Catholic Schools NSW and Association for Independent Schools NSW signed a Statement of Intent, outlining the role of schools in strengthening students’ understanding of consent and preventing sexual violence among young people.
In November 2021, the Department invited parents and carers across NSW to participate in a short anonymous survey to better understand how we can better support consent education at school and at home, and the kinds of resources parents and carers would find helpful in having important conversations with their children.
To ensure we heard the many diverse views from across our communities in NSW, we also held a series of focus groups with Aboriginal parents and carers, parents from multicultural communities and parents of students with disability.
We would like to thank over 4000 parents and carers for their response to the survey as well as parents and carers who participated in our focus groups.
We also thank the NSW P&C Federation, the Ethnic Community Council, Multicultural NSW, Aboriginal Education Consultation Group and Family Advocacy for their assistance in promoting both the survey and focus groups.
Overview of the results from the parent and carer survey
- Almost all parents (93%) who responded to the survey talk about sensitive issues with their children.
- However, almost a third (29%) feel either unprepared or uncomfortable to have these talks.
- Parents who feel uncomfortable or unprepared are more likely to only talk about sensitive issues when they come up or in response to issues raised in the media or seen on TV.
- Most parents (79%) who responded to the survey want to know more about what their children are learning at school, and many (46% of respondents) would like resources to support conversations about sensitives issues at home.
- Parents of younger children were more likely to feel unprepared to have sensitive conversations, as well as more likely to want information about various topics related to consent, including online safety.
Visit the parent and carer survey webpage to see more results.
Update: Launch of parent and student webpages
In response to the November 2021 Parent and Carer Survey, the Department has launched a webpage for parents providing more information about how respectful relationships, including consent is taught at school and other resources to support discussions with children and young people at home.
This webpage has been launched alongside additional resources for teachers as well as a webpage for students. The Department consulted with a number of students across our schools. We heard that students wanted more information and resources that they could access themselves in addition to what they are learning at school.
The Department will continue to integrate the findings from the survey and focus groups into its ongoing work to strengthen consent education in NSW and would like to again thank the parents and carers, and students who have helped to inform our work.
Video - What is the Statement of Intent and how is consent currently taught in NSW Public Schools
In June 2021, the Department and the P&C co-hosted the first of a series of webinars on consent education. It was an opportunity hear about steps the Department is taking to strengthen consent education in NSW and how parents can be involved. Webinar hosts also addressed a number of questions submitted by parents and carers, including how consent is currently taught in NSW public schools.
The resources shared in this presentation are for your interest only. References to resources, material or links to external websites in this presentation do not constitute and should not be taken as endorsement by the department.