Australian schools will roll out Respect Matters module

12 March 2021

Written by: Indira Maysa Lubis

Schools around Australia will be provided with more materials on consent for students from prep to Year 12.

The Federal Government has announced national distribution of Respect Matters module material in the coming weeks, in response to the Teach Us Consent online petition.

The module will address respectful relationships, consent and sexual abuse for students from prep to Year 12.

The decision was made after a petition created by 22-year-old activist Chanel Contos gathered over 30,000 signatures and gained almost 3,000 testimonies from women who have experienced sexual misconduct in educational settings.

SBS reported that Federal Education Minister Alan Tudge told Sky News on Thursday that he was surprised by the number of people who had come forward.

“This is an issue for the entire community to do better at,” he said.

As all eyes are on the government’s response to the Brittany Higgins case, state governments are now rapidly assessing their current curriculum to provide a better and improved education on these issues for students.

Queensland Education Minister Grace Grace said her state’s decision to review their current Respectful Relationships Education Program (RREP) to ensure its adequacy in addressing consent.

The decision received positive feedback from teachers as they call for the topic to be discussed from the early education stage.

Victoria’s Education Minister James Merlino has also instructed his department to get in touch with Ms Contos to see where and how Victoria can improve.

Contos’ petition and Higgins’ case have sparked rallies against sexual misconduct across Australia.

On Monday, 15 March, thousands of people will march together against misogyny, sexism and sexual misconduct in 36 locations nationwide.

The March4Justice will demand a new federal Gender Equality Act, a better handling process of rape allegations, mandatory sexual harassment training for MPs and their staffs, more funding for gendered violence prevention and an equal representation in Parliament by 2030.

Protesters are asked to wear all-black and to bring a black mask with #enough written on it.

The march in the capital cities will be held at:

  • Canberra: Parliament House
  • Melbourne: State Library
  • Sydney: Town Hall
  • Adelaide: Victoria Square
  • Brisbane: King George Square
  • Hobart: Parliament house lawn
  • Darwin: Raintree Park
  • Perth: Forrest Place*

All marches will commence at midday Monday, except for Perth’s, which will commence on Sunday, 14 March at 11 am.

 

If you or anyone you know needs help, please contact the following services:

1800RESPECT: 1800 737 732

BeyondBlue: 1300 22 46 36

Lifeline: 13 11 14

Headspace: 1800 650 890

Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800


Photo: Photography of school room by Feliphe Schiarolli available HERE and used under a Creative Commons Attribution. The image has not been modified.