1,000 signatures reached
To: Ministry of Education
Compulsory Consent Education in Schools
We request that the Ministry of Education pass legislation that makes age appropriate consent education compulsory from years 1 -13. We also request the Ministry to honour Te Tiriti o Waitangi by empowering te ao Māori perspectives and teaching methods around consent. It must be a mandatory requirement for consent education to be holistic, comprehensive, culturally safe and inclusive of our LGBTQ+ communities.
With these requests, our aim is to protect our ākonga by making consent education compulsory across all schools and kura in Aotearoa New Zealand
Why is this important?
Students deserve to have the tools to build healthy, consensual relationships. Due to the lack of comprehensive and consistent consent education in schools and kura across Aotearoa, rangatahi are leaving high school with a varying understanding of consent and its importance within interpersonal relationships.
Sexual violence has become an epidemic among high school students in Aotearoa. Despite the significant level of sexual harm, consent education is merely ‘advisable’ under the national health curriculum. If we continue to remain complicit in our treatment of sexual abuse within high schools, we are failing our future generations. Learning the importance of consent is vital to the formation of healthy and safe relationships. The Ministry of Education can not afford to continue to leave consent education to chance.
Almost half of the victims of sexual assault (47%) are between 15 and 29 years old. Reports also indicate that 50% of wahine Maori have experienced sexual assault or physical violence. Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual individuals are more than twice as likely to experience sexual assault than heterosexual adults. Trans and non-binary experience higher rates of sexual violence than male and female populations (Te Aorerekua, 2020). Therefore, It is imperative to ensure our consent education policies are inclusive and are targeted to our rangatahi.
Currently, in New Zealand, there is no legal requirement for high schools to teach their students about consent. The Ministry of Education Relationships and Sexuality Guidelines outline that consent education is crucial to students’ wellbeing and development, but the Ministry of Education has no specific auditing process to ensure schools are implementing these guidelines.
After reviewing over 300 testimonies involving sexual harm and/or what education around consent they recieved from young people around Aotearoa, it is clear that our national consent education is severely inconsistent. Many submissions from students explained they felt their consent education was inadequate or received none at all.
We want to ensure that our rangatahi are receiving the consent education they both need and deserve. The Guidelines envision a relatively high standard of consent education but have no means of ensuring that secondary schools actually implement it within their curriculum.