Consent education programmes available for schools, funding is the issue

There have been calls for sexual consent education in schools this week after the news that there would be no prosecutions resulting from Operation Clover.

One of the key findings from the Police report is that there is a ‘prevalence of alcohol in teenagers’ lives and the poor understanding among males and females as to what “consent” was in a sexual setting.’

Wellington-based organisation, Sexual Abuse Prevention Network Coordinator, Fiona McNamara says “There are a number of successful prevention programmes running in schools and with young people outside of mainstream education throughout the country. The issue is that there is a lack of funding to run the programmes. We are able to offer programmes at significantly reduced cost or no cost to a number of schools but ideally we would be providing this education to every young person in Wellington.”

Sexual Abuse Prevention Network runs “Sex & Ethics” a six week programme for young people about how to make ethical sexual decisions that work for everyone involved. “The focus is not on telling young people how to have sex, but providing them with a framework to make decisions about what they want to do and know how to check it is OK with the other person.” The fully-evaluated programme was developed by Moria Carmody from University of Western Sydney and has been running in New Zealand since 2009.

The Network also runs a programme called “Who Are You?” a three hour programme that can be run in one block or in three one-hour sessions to fit into school health curriculum.

Additionally, the Network runs professional development programmes for adults who work with young people about how they can handle a disclosure of sexual violence from someone who has experienced sexual violence or someone who thinks they may have harmed someone.

Sexual Abuse Prevention Network currently works with ten secondary schools in the Wellington Region from years 10-13, including single sex school, co-educational schools, state schools, private schools as well as and schools that operate outside the mainstream education system, youth organisations, LGBTQI youth groups and local Marae. The programmes are also available outside of Wellington and there are a number of sexual violence specialist agencies around the country who run programmes in their local communities.

Any schools or people working with young people who would like to discuss the programmes available can contact Sexual Abuse Prevention Network. For more information or interviews contact Fiona McNamara, or 027 631 0742 or [email protected]