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People protest misogyny and call for equality and justice in Australian society during the #March4Justice protests, which took place on March 15, 2021 in cities throughout the country.
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This Australian State Just Made Sexual Consent Classes Mandatory in All Public Schools


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Over half of all women in Australia have experienced sexual harassment, while 1 in 5 has experienced sexual violence. Global Citizen campaigns on the United Nations' Global Goals, including goal 5 for gender equality. Join the movement and take action on this issue and more here

All public schools in Victoria will now introduce mandatory consent classes, an Australian-first initiative spurred by a wave of sexual harassment allegations in schools and students' cries that current guidance isn't good enough. 

The new model will fall under the existing Respectful Relationships Program curriculum, which formally prioritised conversations around respect, sexuality, confidence and sexually transmitted diseases.

According to acting Victorian Premier James Merlino, classes will now also explicitly teach students about power imbalances, the relationship between alcohol and sexual abuse and how to provide and receive consent. 

Merlino said the classes would begin as early as next month. 

"[Respectful Relationships] is proven to make a real difference and is a recommendation of the Royal Commission into Family Violence. It is a program that should be rolled out nationwide," Merlino told the Age. "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. This will ensure it is not just taught, but taught well right across the state."

Victorian Student Representative Council Chief Executive Nina Laitala applauded the decision before explaining that while the previous Respectful Relationship material was "great," more needed to be done to ensure teachers were fully equipped to discuss matters of consent. 

Further professional development opportunities will be made available to teachers under the initiative.

"What we've heard is that [consent teaching] is inconsistent across schools and across areas, like most topics that are very personal," Laitala said, according to the Age.

Related Stories March 16, 2021 Tens of Thousands of Australians Join #March4Justice Against Gender-Based Violence

The move comes in the wake of hundreds of confronting rape and assault allegations and testimonies of misogyny made by students, including incidents involving Melbourne's Wesley College, St Kevin's College, Haileybury and Xavier College.

The recent allegations follow crushing expositions and allegations of rape and assault within Australia's Parliament. 

Over the past month, two separate rape allegations against distinguished Australian politicians and parliament staffers have come to light.

The cases have prompted mass protests across the country and calls for further funding for gender-based violence prevention, the establishment of a federal Gender Equality Act and a gender equity audit of Parliamentary practices.