Consent education to be added to Australian school curriculum from next year

Closeup of a girl's hand. The girl is wearing a blue-checkered school dress.

Education on consent will be made mandatory in all Australian schools, after state and federal ministers unanimously agreed to enshrine it in the curriculum.

Representing the Education Minister, Senator Jonathon Duniam confirmed the move in senate estimates today.

One of the women behind the push for consent to be made a compulsory topic in the classroom is Chanel Contos, a former Sydney private school student.

In February 2021, Ms Contos polled her Instagram followers and asked if they or someone close to them had been sexually assaulted by someone when they were at school.

After more than 200 people responded with “yes” in just 24 hours, Ms Contos launched an online petition calling for more holistic and earlier consent education in Australia.

A headshot of Chanel smiling at the camera in a denim jacket.
After her online petition was overwhelmed with responses, Chanel Contos created the organization Teach Us Consent. (Image: Supplied)

The petition has since gained 44,000 signatures, with more than 6,600 people sharing their stories of sexual assault.

On Instagram, Ms Contos celebrated the announcement.

“This monumental change has only been made possible because of the tens of thousands of voices that have supported this movement,” she wrote.

Ms Contos wrote that the new curriculum would incorporate “comprehensive consent education”, including an understanding of gendered stereotypes, coercion and power imbalances.

Shadow Education Minister Tanya Plibersek took to Twitter to congratulate Ms Contos and her organization, Teach Us Consent.

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