The aim of the Growing and Developing Healthy Relationships (GDHR) resource is to support Western Australian schools to provide comprehensive relationships and sexuality education (RSE). GDHR content is constantly reviewed and updated to align with the current Western Australian Curriculum and international evidence.

The background teaching notes offer cross curricular suggestions for the implementation of whole school RSE initiatives. 

The GDHR learning activities help students to explore their attitudes and values and develop knowledge and skills within 8 topic areas. These topic areas are based on the International Technical Guidance for Sexuality Education and relate directly WA Curriculum strands, substrands and General Capabilities: Staying safeGrowing bodiesCommunication skills;  RelationshipsUnderstanding genderValues, rights, cultureSexual healthSexuality and sexual behaviour.

The learning activities list relevant descriptors from the WA Health and Physical Education Scope and Sequence. 

 

2023 Curriculum update

The revised curriculum content for HPE for consent is available for implementation in 2024. 

GDHR lessons and support materials for teachers and parents aligned to new consent curriculum:

 

Guiding principles

The WA Curriculum has 5 Guiding Principles that promote equity and excellence. GDHR relates to each of these as follows:

Western Australian values of schooling

Values education is a large part of RSE and the GDHR learning experiences. Teaching and learning about sensitive topic areas requires both teachers and students to think about their own values, beliefs and attitudes. The learning activities and background teaching notes offer opportunities to explore these values in a safe, respectful space. 

Principles of teaching, learning and assessment

GDHR offers scaffolded learning activities within each year group and across the phases of schooling to ensure key foundational understanding and development. Learning activities use real life examples that are age and stage appropriate to engage and motivate students. They use hands-on activities that encourage discussion and critical analysis and cater to a range of learning styles and needs.

Each learning activity provides opportunity to reflect and assess learning and provide opportunities to extend learning in the wider school environment and with parents through 'take home activities'. 

The Essential information section provides teachers with the knowledge and skills required to create a safe and supportive learning environment. 

Phases of schooling

GDHR learning activities are organised by year level (K-10) and by topic, providing guidance to teachers through the priority differences across all phases of schooling as outlined below:

  • Early childhood (Kindergarten - Year 2): emotional literacy (feelings, strengths), friendships, families, bodily autonomy, protective behaviours.

  • Middle to late childhood (Years 3  -6): emotional literacy (managing change, resilience, conflict resolution), friendships, online communication, body image, puberty, media literacy.

  • Early adolescence (Years 7- 8): respectful relationships (friendships, romantic), puberty, pregnancy and birth, gender stereotypes, image based abuse, media literacy, help seeking behaviours, informed decision making, critical analysis. 

  • Middle adolescence (Years 7-10): respectful relationships (romantic, intimate), gender stereotypes, media literacy, image based abuse, sexual health, sexual behaviours.

Student diversity

GDHR resources aim to develop an understanding of the diverse range of personal identities in our society. Culture, gender, socioeconomic status, disability, sexual identity and geographic location are all elements that are considered when developing GDHR learning activities and teachers are encouraged to adapt the resources to suit the individual needs of their demographics. 

Background teaching notes provide teachers with professional reading on how to create and improve inclusion and celebration of diversity in their school. 

Kindergarten and pre-primary statement

K-P activities on GDHR align with the Western Australian Early Years Learning Framework.

Children's learning in these early years provides a solid foundation for the social and emotional skills; knowledge and understandings needed to keep them safe, healthy and to establish and manage respectful relationships. This learning occurs when they participate in everyday life, develop interests and construct their own identities and understandings of the world.

 

Reference:

School Curriculum and Standards Authority. http://www.scsa.wa.edu.au 

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2023 GDHR symposium

 

Organisers

The Curtin RSE Project. Funded by WA Department of Health.

Dates

27 October 2024

Location

Curtin University, Bentley Perth WA

Overview

The Curtin University RSE Project held their biennial Symposium on Friday, October 27th titled: ‘Growing and Developing Healthy Relationships 2023: Supporting schools to deliver effective relationships and sexuality education’. The specialised event engaged delegates from all over Australia, due to the success of the 2021 livestream option for the Symposium. Over 140 teachers, school nurses, pre-service teaches, school psychologists, sexual health sector representatives, principals, curriculum representatives and more attended the event online and in-person. This year’s theme was ‘Connection, Community, Collaboration’, which acknowledges the necessity of delivering a whole school approach to relationships and sexuality education, and how various services, organisations, and individuals can assist with implementation, and share their experiences.


They day kicked-off with an opening address from Meredith Jane Hammat MLA. Meredith reiterated the government’s position on the teaching and implementation of respectful relationships education within Western Australian schools and Australian schools more broadly. Following Meredith’s opening address, Katrina Marson, a Churchill Fellow and powerful RSE advocate delivered an inspiring keynote presentation. Katrina flew over from Canberra to join us for the event, and her presentation titled: Legitimate Sexpectations: The power of sex-ed, was a powerful reminder of the importance of delivering school based relationships and sexuality education to young people, to ensure they are equipped with the skills they need to form and maintain respectful relationships, and engage in healthy sexual behaviours. Katrina’s presentation was extremely thought provoking, as she drew on findings from her Churchill Fellowship to explore what best practice relationships and sexuality education looks like in a range of different countries.


The keynote address was followed by the presentation of the first Relationships and Sexuality Education Educator Awards. This year, the RSE Project, through generous funding from the Department of Health, Sexual Health and Blood Borne Virus Program, presented awards to four Western Australian educators. The categories for the awards were: (1) Rising Star, (2) Regional RSE Educator, (3) Primary RSE Educator, and (4), Secondary RSE Educator. Each award winner, and all of the finalists for each award category have shown a strong commitment to teaching and implementing relationships and sexuality education within their schools. The RSE Project would like to say another massive congratulations to all of our award finalists and our winners. 


Throughout the breaks, delegates were able to explore a showcase of 15 agencies, who provided resources, information, and advice to support the delivery and implementation of RSE. The agencies included: WA Department of Health; Sexual Health Quarters; The Youth Educating Peers (YEP) Project; Sexuality Education Consultancy Agency (SECCA); Act, Belong, Commit; Starick; Safe4Kids; Legal Aid; WAAC; eSafeKids; Man UP; We are Womxn; and Headspace. Armadale Education Support Centre also held an agency display, where they showcased some of their scope and sequence, and activities done within the classroom. 


A session titled ‘Stories from the Field’ was held after morning tea, where delegates heard from our RSE Award winners about real life approaches to RSE and successes, to the vast array of challenges that educators face. The session wrapped up with a panel of 7 finalists of the RSE awards. This panel was a mix of questions asked by the delegates, and questions formatted by the RSE team. In the afternoon, delegates participated in two professional development workshops. Delegates were spoilt for choice with workshop topics on a variety of the subjects including: Healthy Relationships and Consent; LGBTIQA+ Diversity; Working the Mooditj Way; Including all Abilities in your Sex Ed; Innovative Resources for Abuse Prevention; Children and Pornography; Interactive Strategies to Teach about STIs; Family and Domestic Violence; Whole School Friendship Strategies; and Socialising Online. 


The RSE Project wish to thank all the delegates who made a special effort to leave their classrooms and workplaces for the day to network with us; and to all the speakers for their highly engaging presentations. We look forward to continuing to offer professional learning opportunities to further support you all, as you play a valuable role in helping our youth to grow and develop healthy relationships.

School RSE grants 2023-2024 (up to $1,200)

 

Organisers

The Sexual Health and Blood-borne Virus Program, WA Department of Health, is offering small grants of up to $1200 to Western Australian schools to support their Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) programs.

The aim of these grants is to assist schools to improve their comprehensive RSE programs through a whole school approach. 

Dates

Grants will be assessed on a first come first served basis in conjunction with eligibility requirements and awarded until budget is exhausted.

Schools will be notified of outcome of application within 10 days of receipt of full application.

Successful grant recipients will receive funding 4 weeks after providing an invoice for payment of the grant. 

Schools are not required to wait for grant funds to start purchasing/implementing the grant project.

Upon completion of the project an evaluation form must be completed providing a brief summary of the project implementation, evaluation of its results and the acquittal of funds.

The project evaluation must be returned via email by the end of Term 4, 2023. 

Location

Metropolitan, regional and remote Western Australian schools.

Overview

Schools can apply for grants for short community projects. If you have an innovative idea for a project please apply.

See the fantastic projects schools have implemented with the WA DoH school RSE grants!

Download(s)

School RSE Grant application package

How to Register

Please see the School RSE grant information package for full details and application forms. 

Contact Details

E: gdhr@health.wa.gov.au

T: (08) 9222 4447

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Can condoms be given out to high school students?

  • Growing and Developing Healthy Relationships emphasises a positive preventative approach, harm reduction and safer sex strategies which take care not to normalise sexual activity for school-aged students. Abstinence from sexual activity until legal age of consent (16 years +) and capacity for informed decision making is encouraged. 

  • Individual schools are best placed to determine the needs of their students in context with their policies and values.

  • It is important to provide students with the knowledge and skills required to make informed decisions about their sexual health BEFORE they engage in any sexual activity. This may include showing condoms in Health lessons, and allowing students to practice the correct way to put condoms on. 

  • Alternatives to providing condoms to students in schools:

    • access to school health nurses to provide individualised age/stage appropriate information and referral to health services.

    • providing parents with information and links to services that they can refer their children to. (E.g. Condoms and Contraception | Get the Facts and Preparing young people for healthy sexually active lives - Talk Soon Talk Often).

    • providing referrals to locations that provide free condoms (e.g. condom dispensers, condom trees, bowls of free condoms in services, etc) - Find free condoms | Get the Facts.

    • Leaver's events - WA Department of Health provide free condoms that are distributed at events around WA by funded services. Social media campaigns encourage Leavers to pack condoms before events, use condoms, and get tested for STIs if they have had sex.

         

 

 

Related Items

Guides

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Consent - sharing photos

Time to complete Consent - sharing photos: 50 min

Year level: 3

Description

Students use a scenario and emotion statutes to explore consent for photos to be shared online and actions they can take if someone has shared photos without consent. 

Learning focus

WA Curriculum

Strategies for seeking, giving and denying permission are rehearsed and refined, and situations where permission is required are described, for example:

  • exploring giving consent for their photo to be shared

  • actions they can take if someone has done something hurtful or disrespectful to them

  • actions they can take if someone has done something without their permission or consent, including in online environments

Key understandings

enlightenedIt is important to ask for consent before sharing anything about another person online, including sharing photos. 

enlightenedEveryone has the right to make decisions about what personal information is shared online (including photos). 

enlightenedIt is important to listen to and respect the decision another person has made about themselves, their personal information, and what feels safe and comfortable for them. 

enlightenedThere are different actions people can take if someone has shared photos without consent. 

enlightenedThere are trusted adults I can go to for help.

Materials

  • Board

General capabilities

No General Capabilities values have been selected.

No Australian Curriculum values have been selected.

Blooms revised taxonomy

No Blooms values have been selected.

Inquiry learning phase

No Inquiry Learning phase values have been selected.


Learning activities

Revision: What is consent?

Time to complete Revision: What is consent?: 10 min

yes Teaching tip: This activity is a brief revision of the concept of consent and the CUPS framework covered in lower primary GDHR lessons. More time and detailed explanation may be needed if this is new content. 

 

  1. laugh Ask:

What do you think the word 'consent' means? 

(Agreeing to do something, giving permission, letting someone do something, saying 'yes', when everybody involved agrees to what is happening). 

What are some important rules about 'consent' ? (Hint: remember CUPS)

 

  1. Write the acronym CUPS on the board (vertically). Add each of the words 'change mind', 'understand', 'pressure is not OK', 'sure' as you explain the following.

laugh Explain:

There are some important rules about consent. The word 'CUPS' can help us remember these rules. Let's use hugging as an example to explain the rules about consent. 

Change mind - you are allowed to change your mind at any time. E.g. If you say, 'yes' to a hug and then you don't want to, that is OK. The person is no longer allowed to hug you. And, if you have said, 'yes' to a hug before, it does not mean it is OK for that person to hug you every time they see you. They have to ask each time.

Understand - you have to understand what you are agreeing to. E.g. If a person asks you for a hug and then they try to give you a kiss, this is not OK and is not consent.

Pressure is not OK - if someone is pressuring you, this is not OK and not consent. E.g. If you don't give me a hug, I won't be your friend any more. 

Sure - if you are not sure if you want to be touched, the person is not allowed to touch you. E.g. If someone asks you for a hug and you shrug your shoulders and say, 'maybe', this is not consent and the person is not allowed to give you a hug until they are sure you are OK with it. 

 

Scenario - Emotion statues

Time to complete Scenario - Emotion statues: 35 min

  1. laughAsk:

❓ What are some examples of when we need to ask for consent (or permission)?

(To touch another person (hugs, kisses, holding hands, tickling, playing); joining a team; joining a game (online or offline); sharing a photo online; sharing food; borrowing something; accepting a friend request online)To touch another person (hugs, kisses, holding hands, tickling, playing); joining a team; joining a game (online or offline); sharing a photo online; sharing food; borrowing something; accepting a friend request online)

 

  1. laugh Explain:

"Consent is important in offline and online situations. Asking for consent, and listening to the answer, is an important way for us to show respect for other people. One situation where we need to ask for consent is sharing photos online."

  1. Explain to students that you are going to read out a scenario (a story). You will be asked to make emotion statues – without using words, make a pose to show how a character in the story might feel in the situation. Then there will be some questions about the story and what the characters could do.

  2. Scenario: Ali and Max are good friends. On the weekend Ali went over to Max’s house for the afternoon. They were having fun playing lots of different games and taking silly photos. On Monday, Max posted the photos on social media. Ali doesn’t want the photos posted online. Ali doesn’t like having photos posted on social media.

  3. Invite the class to make emotion statues (in their seats or make free space) to show how Ali might be feeling when the photos are posted. Reminder: No words, just poses.

  4. Ask the class to look around at the statues and share the emotion words to match (e.g. scared, angry, embarrassed, stressed, sad, distressed, disappointed, nervous).

  5. Remind the students we can feel our emotions in our bodies. Ask them to name the body reactions that might occur (e.g. heart racing, sweating, feeling sick, teary, shaky, wanting to go to the toilet).

  6. laugh Ask: (Write the responses for the actions that Max and Ali could take on the board)

❓ Did Max ask for consent?  (No)

❓ How could Max ask Ali for consent before posting the photos? What could Max say to Ali?  (ask on the day, check in at school, send a message; would it be ok if I? Do I have your permission to? Am I allowed to?)

❓ What actions could Ali take?  (e.g. ask Max to take them down, speak to a trusted adult)

❓ Would the actions Ali might take be different if Max and Ali weren't good friends? (Possibly. Ali might speak to an adult instead of speaking to the person directly if they weren't friends),

  1. Scenario: Marley is another friend of Ali and Max. Marley saw the photos that Max posted. Marley knows that Ali doesn’t like having their photos posted online.

  2. Invite the class to make emotion statues (in their seats or make free space) to show how Marley might be feeling when the photos are posted. Reminder: No words, just poses.

  3. Invite the class to look around at the statues and share the emotion words to match (e.g. sad, worried, angry, stressed, disappointed, nervous).

  4. laugh Ask: (Write the responses for the actions that Marley could take on the board)

❓ What actions could Marley take?  (ask Ali what they would like to do, ask how Ali is feeling, does something nice for Ali, speak to a trusted adult, goes with Ali to speak to a trusted adult, goes with Ali to speak to Max)

  1. Scenario: Marley checks in to see how Ali is feeling and then goes with Ali to ask Max to take the photos down.

  2. Invite the class to make emotion statues (in their seats or make free space) to show how Ali might be feeling when Marley supports them. Reminder: No words, just poses.

  3. Invite the class to look around at the statues and share the emotion words to match (e.g. happy, respected, safe, looked after, supported, warm, not alone, strong).

  4. Explain that showing friendship and kindness to others are ways we can show respect, support and have a positive impact when someone has experienced a negative or challenging situation.

  5. laugh Explain

"It is very important to ask for consent before sharing any photos online. There are lot of different reasons people might not want their photos shared. We don’t need to know the reason why they don’t want their photo shared to be able to respect their decision.

There are actions we can take if someone has done something without our permission or consent. There are also actions we can take if we see a situation where we know something is happening without a person’s permission or consent. It is important to tell a trusted adult if someone posts a photo of you without your consent."

 

Trusted adults

Time to complete Trusted adults: 5 min

  1. laugh Explain:

"Trusted adults are able to help and support you. They are people you can tell if something happens without your consent, or you see an unsafe situation, online or offline.

It is never your fault if something happens to you without your consent."

  1. Revise the trusted adult 'helping hand' by asking students to think of 5 adults (one for each finger) that they can go to for help if they need it.

 

yes Teaching tip: It is important not to tell the students who their 5 adults are as they will be different for each student. 

 

  1. Display the Kidshelpline number (1800 55 1800) in your classroom and remind students that this can be on of the 5 trusted adults they can seek help from. 

 

Health promoting schools strategy

Partnerships - parents

 

Consent

 

Overview

Consent is deciding if you want to do something or not. 

Non-sexual consent

In the early years, consent education is about bodily autonomy and learning how to read and communicate feelings. This may be in the context of personal space, sharing possessions and physical touch (e.g. hugs). In middle primary, contexts can include online environments such as taking and sharing pictures/videos. 

Exploring verbal and non-verbal body cues that show how someone might seek, give or deny permission helps students to understand how consent is communicated and what to do if someone continues to do something without consent. 

Teaching tips

  • Model consent in your daily practice by asking for permission before touching someone, borrowing items, taking pictures, etc.

  • Draw attention to consent forms for excursions and what the forms mean.

  • Model ways of withdrawing consent e.g. You can borrow my pencil. Now I need my pencil back please.

Sexual consent

Sexual consent is an agreement to engage in sexual activity.

Consent must be:

  • mutual

  • freely given

  • informed (i.e. they understand what they are agreeing to)

  • ongoing (i.e. gained at each step of physical intimacy)

  • certain and clear. 

Without consent, sexual activity is sexual assault. 

Teaching sexual consent

Teaching sexual consent is more than just knowing the laws around consent. Young people need to know how to navigate conversations to check in with their partners at each stage of physical contact. They need to know what sexual consent looks like, sounds like and feels like. 

The following diagram from Talk soon. Talk often outlines some of the basics of consent and offers some discussion starters to have with teens. 

Asking questions like, "If someone says/does...have they consented? How can someone be sure?"

What does the law say?

  • Sex is when a penis, finger, object or any part of a person is fully or partially inside another person's vagina or anus.

  • Sex also includes any kind of oral sex.

  • Consent means giving your free and voluntary agreement to sex.

  • It is never Ok for someone to assume you have given consent or to force you to keep going if you want to stop.

  • In WA, the legal age for consent to sexual activity is 16 years or older.

  • This means that you can have sex with another person aged 16 years or older so long as you both agree to it.

  • It is a crime for a person who is caring for you, supervising you or has authority over you to have sex with you if you are under 18 (e.g. teacher, employer, coach, carer). 

  • A person cannot give consent (regardless of age) if:

    • they are drunk or drugged

    • they are unconscious or asleep

    • they have a mental or intellectual conditio that impacts their ability to understand what they are consenting to

    • they are tricked, forced, coerce or threatened. 

  • Sexual assault is any unwanted sexual act or behaviour a person did not consent to or was not able to consent to. This can include: 

    • unwanted sexual touching, kissing or hugging

    • making you watch a sexual act, such as porn

    • being forced to perform any sexual act. 

  • Sexual harassment is any unwelcome sexual behaviour that makes a person feel uncomfortable, offended, humiliated or intimidated.

    • This can happen at school at work, or in other places and can be in person or through social media.

    • This can include:

      • unwelcome sexual advances

      • requests for sexual favours

      • sexual jokes

      • staring, leering

      • wolf-whistling

      • physical contact (e.g. unwanted touching).

Where can young people go if they have been sexually assaulted?

There are many support services available to people who are affected by sexual assault.

In cases of recent sexual assault, go to the nearest hospital or doctor.

The Child Protection Unit at Perth's CHildren's Hosptial has a specialised service for children and families.

The Sexual Assault Resource Centre (SARC) has a 24-hour emergency helpline for people 13 years or older - 1800 199 8880.


Protective behaviours education

 

Overview

The vast majority of abused children (96%) are abused by someone known and trusted by them1. Research suggests that in Australia, 1 in 4 girls and somewhere between 1 in 7 boys and 1 in 12 boys are sexually abused before they reach the age of 182, but only a small proportion will ever tell of their abuse3.

Protective behaviours education focuses on developing the skills of empowerment, communication, self-esteem, resilience, social skills and other life skills to prevent abuse, reduce violence and promote life-enriching rather than life-depleting experiences. It encourages students to:

  • assert their right to feel safe

  • listen to what their body tells them

  • follow up by taking action to either solve problems on their own or to seek assistance from other people.

In Western Australia, teachers are required by law to report a belief, formed on reasonable grounds in the course of their work, that a child or young person has been the subject of sexual abuse to the WA Department for Child Protection and Family Support. See the WA Department of Education's Child Protection website for further details.

Teaching protective behaviours

Safe learning environment

Protective behaviours education is likely to generate strong feelings so it is important that the classroom environment reflects trust and confidence and that the teacher has the strategies and skills to reinforce student strengths, develop trust and build communication.

Establishing a group agreement is critical to help provide a safe environment for students to express opinions." "

Appropriate language

Age-appropriate education starts with teaching children the correct names for, and functions of, their body parts and how to care for, respect and protect their bodies4. Students need to know and be able to name external parts of the body including the names for external sexual parts such as the  penis, vulva, breast, testicles and bottom.

In teaching about body parts (including the names for genitals) use the correct terminology from the outset. This helps set the tone for discussion to follow about reproductive body parts and functions and allows students to develop comfort to use these words and to be able to confidently talk about their body. It is also helpful to describe the reproductive body parts as ‘private’ parts rather than ‘rude’ parts. Using anatomical language, such as penis and vulva, also improves a child's confidence to be able to report inappropriate touching, for example, and prevents confusion that can arise from the use of nicknames.

Protective behaviours education and personal safety education programs are a part of any good sexuality education program. Protective behaviours education focuses on teaching students how to identify and avoid a range of potentially unsafe situations, including sexual abuse5.

Key messages

  1. We all have the right to feel safe at all times.

  2. We can talk with someone about anything no matter what it is.

Key concepts

  1. Early warning signs (recognising specific internal physical and emotional sensations)

  2. Safety (recognising safety and knowing rights)

  3. Networks (knowing how to ask for help and who to ask)

Early warning signs

Early warning signs incorporate physical responses of the body (e.g. goosebumps), emotional responses (e.g. feeling scared) and external indicators (e.g. time, location) at the outset of inappropriate or harmful events, including potentially abusive situations. When discussing early warning signs with students, it’s important to know that not all children experience them and that some may have become desensitised through previous or current traumatic experiences, or have sensory disorders.

Safety messages

  • Encourage children to know they can decide who touches them.

  • Teach children they have a right to say "no" to unwanted touch.

  • Teach about privacy and help them identify the private parts of the body.

  • Talk about the difference between 'safe' and 'unsafe' secrets or use the word 'surprise' instead of 'safe secrets'. 

  • Encourage them to tell someone if they are confused or upset or if they have concerns or questions.

  • Reinforce using the buddy system on outings.

  • Try to always know where your children are and have them check in with you.

  • Maintain an environment in which children feel safe talking about their feelings and problems.

Language of safety

The language of safety includes verbal and non-verbal messages that create a safe environment. Teachers should model positive language that is free from bias, is respectful and promotes confidence.

Teach, practise and encourage students to use the statements below:

  • "STOP - I don't like that"

  • "I don't feel safe when you do that"

  • "No, I don't want to"

  • "When you do that I don't feel safe"

Use the following steps to ensure students feel comfortable using the language of safety:

  • Practise saying in your head.

  • Practise saying out aloud.

  • Practise saying to a friend.

Dealing with disclosures

In the course of delivering sexuality education, a teacher may become concerned about the safety and wellbeing of a particular student. It is a legal requirement that a mandatory report is submitted when a teacher forms a reasonable belief that a child has been sexually abused. Refer to the WA Department of Education's Child Protection Policy for more information and to assist in developing school policies and procedures.

Use of protective interruption

Programs focusing on issues of relationships and sexuality inherently have the possibility of students disclosing personal issues. A useful strategy to prevent students saying something inappropriate is ‘protective interruption’. This means interrupting students before they disclose and at the same time advising they can talk privately with the teacher after class.

See the teaching notes on dealing with disclosures and protective interrupting for more information.

Teaching tips

  • Though it’s not necessary to obtain parental consent to conduct protective behaviours education, it is recommended that parents are informed and involved in the education and support process. Send a letter home to parents and carers providing an overview of the learning sequence along with the free WA Department of Health booklet Talk Soon. Talk Often. A Guide for Parents Talking to Their Kids About Sex. Sample letters can be found in Home Partnerships. 

  • The first reproductive body parts to introduce in the Kindergarten – Pre-Primary band are the external body parts that are different for males and females and can be described as the ones that all humans have whether they are a baby, child or adult - i.e. the penis for a male and vulva for a female.

  • Use the ‘one step removed’ strategy to provide opportunities for students to practise skills in a non-threatening situation without disclosing personal or family information. The key is to use the general or ‘third person’ approach. For example, “What can a young person do, to keep safe?” Puppets, songs and scenarios can also be used to support the one step removed strategy.

  • Praise students who are ‘brave’ enough to volunteer the names of sexual body parts, whether they are the proper and correct, scientific or ‘science-type’ names, or informal ‘home names’. If the students volunteer ‘home names' for the sexual body part, provide them with the proper name as well.

  • Students may giggle, but there is no need to reprimand them. Giggling is an expected response and demonstrates the child understands there is something different and private about these body parts. Teachers could respond by saying “sometimes we giggle when we feel embarrassed especially when we are talking about parts of our bodies that are private.  We are going to learn the correct names for these parts and find out about our whole body (not just the bits outside our clothes).”

  • If a child uses an inappropriate term you can reframe it by saying something like, “thank you for your answer and we should know that the proper word for ‘dick’ is penis". Keep in mind students may not be intending to be naughty or rude; rather it could be that it is the only word they know for the sexual body part.

  • Teachers often describe moments of finding students playing ‘peek under the toilet door’ or showing parts of their body to each other. Whilst this is a perfectly natural, it is helpful for students to learn that it is not okay to play these games at school and it is against school rules. This sort of advice helps reinforce students respect for one another’s privacy.

Relevant resources

Professional development

WA Department of Education - Child Protection and Abuse Prevention online professional learning

An interactive online course for WA Department of Education employees. Includes a unit on teaching Protective Behaviours. The Protective Behaviours web page can be accessed by DoE employees by logging in.

Safe 4 Kids

For teachers, parents, childcare educators, or agency staff. Tailor-made to suit your requirements, can include in-class modelling of protective behaviours lessons.

WA Child Safety Services

Protective behaviours workshops are available for teachers and other professionals working with children.

Other resources

Everyone's Got a Bottom

This book can be purchased from True (formally Family Planning Queensland) and is a useful resource for teaching young children about body parts, physical gender differences, respect for privacy and protective behaviours.

References

1. New South Wales Child Protection Council. Child Sexual Assault: How to talk to children. Parramatta, NSW, 2000.

2. James, Marianne. Trends and Issues Series (no. 146). Child abuse and neglect: Redefining the issues. Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology. 2006.

3. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Child Protection Australia 2011-12. Canberra, 2013.

4. Brennan, H. ‘Ignorance is not Innocence’ in Child Abuse Prevention Newsletter, 14(1), (pp. 17-19), 2006.

5. Carmody, T. F. & J.P. O’Sullivan. Project AXIS Child Sexual Abuse in Queensland: The Nature and Extent. Brisbane: Queensland Crime Commission Queensland Police Service, 2000.


This Background Note relates to the following Learning Activities:

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Body image

 

Overview

We live in a world that sends us all sorts of messages about what the ‘perfect’ body looks like. We are constantly receiving image-related messages from different sources, all within the media, our surrounding environments, and on social media, indicating what society views as ‘beautiful’, ‘ideal’, and ‘attractive’. It is not surprising then, that instead of embracing and celebrating diversity in all body types, we end up focusing on what can be dangerous and often physically unattainable perfection. The other reality is that these ‘perfect’ images to which too many aspire are typically digitally altered, using photoshop, various filters, angles, and lighting to look a certain way. They are not true or realistic images.

Body image refers to how you see yourself, how you feel about the way you look and how you think others perceive you. The reality is that every body comes in all different shapes and sizes, and it is unrealistic to represent only one body type as beautiful. Lots of people of all ages and genders can struggle with their body image. Research suggests that around 70% of Australian girls and around 60% of Australian boys are dissatisfied with their body or weight1.

With the degree of physical and emotional changes occurring during puberty, it is normal for young people to be more self-aware. Body image was identified as one of the three top concerns of young people in Mission Australia’s Youth Survey 20202 , with concerns considerably higher among females than males.

Males are increasingly feeling this pressure to achieve or maintain an ‘ideal’ appearance of high levels of fitness, strength, and physical ‘perfection’. The change rooms at school and sporting clubs, time at the beach or gym, and intimate experiences can be intimidating and vulnerable spaces for young men.

 

Tips for young people to help build their self-esteem and body confidence:

  • During puberty, you will notice your body beginning to change, and perhaps become more aware of the way your body looks; this is completely normal. If you are feeling really worried about something in particular, don’t be afraid to talk and ask questions about your concerns with someone you trust. This could be with your parents, teacher, school nurse or doctor. 
  • Comparing yourself to images you see in the media and online can be self-destructive and lead to feelings of being ashamed of your body. It's important to keep in mind that these images are likely to have been heavily edited. Highly stylised pictures of celebrities and models are an unrealistic representation of most people today.
  • Social media accounts are often used as a ‘highlight reel’, showcasing the images with the best lighting, angles, clothes, and filters. The image that gets posted is often the most flattering of hundreds and does not reflect reality.
  • When looking at images that focus on ways to alter your appearance (ads for weight loss programs, diets etc.), it's useful to think about what the image might be trying to sell, rather than picking apart your own appearance. Scroll through family photos and look at your family members at different ages and stages. You may notice that you have similar body traits to other family members and you might like to talk to someone about your body and how it relates to other body types in your family.
  • Have fun finding your own style. Search out the clothes that make you feel good and fit properly. Remember, clothes are designed to fit our bodies, our bodies are not made to squeeze into clothes! It can be useful to remember sizing changes from brand to brand, so try not to focus on the size on the tag, but instead how comfortable you feel and look.
  • Fashion trends can come and go quickly. It's fun to experiment with clothes and makeup, but don’t let it rule your life.
  • Try to look at yourself in the mirror with an uncritical eye, as if you were your best (very supportive and loving!) friend.
  • When the focus is only on external appearance, it is hard to embrace the many qualities that make a human being attractive. Think about the unique (internal) attributes you have that make you special. It could be your sense of humour or that you are a really good listener.
  • On days where you may be experiencing lower self-esteem, try to appreciate your body for what it can do, rather than how it appears. Acknowledge and celebrate your body for what it is able to do and its strength, rather than focusing on how it looks.
  • Social media can be a wonderful source of empowerment and inspiration. However, sometimes it can also be a space that creates dislike and negative emotions towards ourselves and our bodies. It can be really useful to follow lots of different people and organizations who speak about things that are important to you and showcase bodies of different shapes and sizes.
  • If someone you follow posts things that have you constantly comparing yourself and your body to others, or have you feeling badly, unfollow them.
  • It is okay to look different to your friends and the people you see online. Try to acknowledge that every body is different, and diversity should be celebrated. Health, strength, and happiness looks different for everybody, so be sure to focus on what works best for you and your body.
  • Ultimately, feeling good about yourself can only come from one place - inside.

 

Body image and the media

The media provide a necessary and valuable community service; however, unrealistic and stereotypical images of the 'perfect' body type are also common across many forms of media and advertising, including social media. Young people are more exposed to such images as a result of greater access to technology and the internet. It is important for parents and young people to think critically about the images they see in the media and understand that they may have been manipulated and are not necessarily humanly achievable looks.

It is important to understand that the people we see in the media often have access to resources (such as time, money, cosmetic surgery, personal assistants and trainers) that allows them to eat, look, train, and dress a certain way. Therefore, a lifestyle that results in an appearance similar to theirs is not attainable by most people.

The media also reinforces the many gender role expectations of society and often portrays these gender roles stereotypically. Gender role stereotypes that exist in society can be insulting and discriminatory. Some of these include:

  • Men are sexual initiators and aggressors while women submit.
  • A man’s aggressive nature does not allow him to be sensitive to, or to respect, a woman’s sexual attitudes or needs.
  • Men do not need affection, touch or comfort from others and should not offer it to anyone other than their sexual partner.
  • Women assess themselves by their appearance and men assess themselves by how they perform. Men are not interested in their own appearance.
  • Once a man is sexually aroused he cannot control his arousal.
  • In a sexual relationship, the woman should take contraceptive precautions.
  • Men do not express feelings verbally but can express them through violence.

Eating disorders

As already outlined, it is normal that some people might not always feel positive about their body shape and size, particularly when their body is going through a number of changes. It is normal to have days where you experience lower self-esteem or poorer body image, every now and then. However, for some, a more constant preoccupation with the way their body looks can lead to severe and dangerous behaviours which can affect their quality of life; such as developing an eating disorder.

A common misconception about eating disorders is that they stem from a desire to look more beautiful. In actual fact, an eating disorder is a serious and complex mental illness that can arise out of a person's severely low self-esteem and negative view of the way their body looks. Eating disorders can affect people of any gender and age, with any body shape or size. The reasons behind why someone may develop an eating disorder are highly complex, there is no one single cause.

If you suspect that a student may have an eating disorder, then it is important that you express your care and concern for the student, suggest that they seek help, and involve their family where possible and appropriate. Have a look at the Eating Disorders in Schools resource for teachers, for more information about what to do.

 

Performance and Image Enhancing Drugs (PIEDs)

Performance and Image Enhancing Drugs (PIEDs) such as steroids are substances taken by people to improve their physical appearance and/or their athletic performance. For many people who use PIEDs, changing their body image is the main motivation for use.

In Australia, it is illegal to use steroids without a prescription from a doctor. Using steroids can have numerous physical and psychological health effects such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, decreased immune function and kidney damage. People who inject any kind of PIEDs are also at risk of contracting a blood-borne virus. There are a number of treatment pathways available for people who may have a steroid related problem and this treatment needs to be done in consultation with an alcohol and other drug counsellor.

 

Teaching tips

Schools have a role in providing a supportive, safe and body image-friendly environment3. Direct support for students about body image should be available, with a focus on building resilience towards negative body image messages, in a way that is appropriate for their age and gender4.

The National Advisory Group on Body Image’s ‘Checklist for Body Image Friendly Schools’ suggests that schools give attention to:

  • policies and guidelines which address issues related to positive body image
  • curriculum which addresses positive body image and associated issues of student wellbeing, resilience, values, healthy lives and relationships, food and nutrition
  • activities which promote body image friendly physical activity
  • policies and processes which address healthy eating that focusses on health-related outcomes, rather than weight-related outcomes, ensuring they adhere to the traffic light system.
  • policies and processes which support values such as honesty, respect, empathy and inclusion
  • communication which encourages peers to look out for the safety and well-being of other students, with emphasis on reducing bullying.
  • the use of positive language inclusive of diversity.

Below is a summary of principles for education programs supporting positive body image5.

Essential elements for teaching about body image

  • Body image activities that meet the needs of all genders  and a variety of cultural backgrounds.
  • Activities that promote students’ self-identity and self-esteem.
  • Media literacy education that assists students in becoming more critical consumers of the media.
  • Body image-friendly language that is used between teachers and students, and between students.
  • Focus on teaching students about positive behaviours for maintaining good physical and mental health.
  • Evidence-based programs that develop positive body image.
  • Use of a whole school approach that includes students, teaching staff and parents. 

Approaches NOT recommended for teaching about body image

  • Using guest speakers, books, videos of those who have suffered/recovered from eating disorders.
  • Using pictures of ‘ideal’ bodies without proper media literacy education as an introduction.
  • Exploring body types using ‘ectomorph’, ‘endomorph’ and ‘mesomorph’.
  • Asking students to record food intake.
  • Weighing students.

 

Related resources

Websites

The Butterfly Foundation

The Butterfly Foundation represents all people affected by eating disorders and negative body image – a person with the illness, their family and their friends.   

The truth about body image, Kids Helpline

Completely Gorgeous

A website and classroom resource for students and teachers from upper primary school to secondary school. It includes excerpts from the book Real Gorgeous by Kaz Cooke, an animated video, and games and learning activities relating to body image.

Information for Teachers and Schools, National Eating Disorders Collaboration

Lists programs and resources available to schools for the prevention, identification, early intervention, management or care of eating disorders.

Eating disorders information website for young people

Created by the NEDC for young people 

"Is it normal for people to shave/wax their pubic hair?", GDHR students FAQ

Fact sheets/booklets/videos

Body image, Get the Facts

Body image fact sheets, Butterfly Foundation

Stay Beautiful: Ugly Truth In Beauty Magazines, YouTube video

Social media can damage body image – here’s how to counteract it, The Conversation

References

1. Chin-A-Loy, K., Robinson, M., Allen, K. et al. Self-concept and body image dissatisfaction in West Australian adolescent boys and girls. J Eat Disord 2. 2014

2. Tiller, E., Fildes, J., Hall, S., Hicking, V., Greenland, N., Liyanarachchi, D., and Di Nicola, K. 2020, Youth Survey Report 2020, Sydney, NSW: Mission Australia.

3. Stephanie R. Damiano, Zali Yager, Siân A. McLean & Susan J. Paxton. Achieving body confidence for young children: Development and pilot study of a universal teacher-led body image and weight stigma program for early primary school children, Eating Disorders, 26:6, 487-504. 2018.

4. National Advisory Group on Body Image. A proposed National Strategy on Body Image. Canberra: National Advisory Group on Body Image. 2009.

5. Education Services Australia. SeeMe Media Literacy Project Research and Scoping Study Report. 2011. http://seeme.org.au/principles-for-teaching-about-body-image.html


This Background Note relates to the following Learning Activities:

Peer influence

Time to complete Peer influence: 60 minutes

Year level: 6

Description

Students investigate the possible influence that peers may have on the decisions we make.

Learning focus

Planning and practising strategies to promote healthy and safe decision-making.

Key understandings

  • The influence of peers is an important part of developing relationships.

  • People have the right to make their own choices and should not always have to 'fit in'.

  • All decisions, choices and actions have consequences.

Materials

  • Butcher's paper
  • Teaching Resource: How would you feel? [one per group]
  • Student Activity Sheet: Peer influence decision-making plan [one per group]

General capabilities

No General Capabilities values have been selected.

Health and physical education(P)

Personal, social and community health

This strand will develop students' knowledge, understanding and skills to support a positive sense of self, to effectively respond to life events and transitions and to engage in their learning. Effective communication, decision-making and goal-setting skills are integral to this strand as they help to establish and maintain relationships in family, school, peer group and community settings, support healthy and safer behaviours, and enable advocacy. Students will source and examine a range of health information, products, services and policies, and evaluate their impact on individual and community health and safety.

Relationships and sexuality

Blooms revised taxonomy

No Blooms values have been selected.

Inquiry learning phase

No Inquiry Learning phase values have been selected.

Related items

Teaching resource (download) Guides

Before you get started

  • Ensure group agreement are established before beginning this lesson. For classes that have already established ground rules, quickly reviewing them can promote a successful lesson.

  • Students may have questions that they feel uncomfortable to ask. Providing a question box for students to place their questions in anonymously will ensure their questions are answered in a safe environment.

  • For further content information related to this activity, refer to the Guides: Resilience and life skills and Adolescent relationships, and in particular, information about peer influence and peer pressure.

Learning activities

Whole Class

This activity will help students to understand the importance of 'belonging' and 'fitting in' with their peers. Prior to playing the game, it is important to establish a clear set of safety rules once the game starts, e.g. no physical contact, bumping etc.;

  1. To play the Empty seat game find a space large enough to make circles with six to eight chairs (depending on class size) facing the centre of each circle. There should be enough seats for each student. Demonstrate the steps first so that all students understand the intent and the flow of the activity.

    • All students sit in a seat.

    • Choose one student to stand in the middle of the circle, leaving one chair unoccupied.

    • The person to the right of the empty seat 'quickly' moves onto it (there will always be one empty seat and the person to the right moves onto it each time it is next to them).

    • The person in the middle tries to sit on the empty seat before the person on the right does. If the middle person gets the seat first, the person they beat to the chair replaces them in the middle.

    • Continue the game until everyone has had a turn in the middle.

Note: This activity may start out as fun for some and then become quite competitive as it progresses. It is important for the teacher to intervene when needed to debrief actions that may be causing distress.

  1. At the end of the game, facilitate a whole class discussion about being part of a group. It may be appropriate to use a T or Y-chart strategy to structure the conversation.

    Ask:

    • What is peer pressure? (it is when you feel coerced or pressured to do something because of some form of threat of put downs or social rejection. It is different to peer influence which can be a good thing, e.g. you may be influenced to wear your bike helmet while skating if all your friends do it)

    • Why do you think people your age like to feel like they belong or be similar to others? (you feel safer; you feel more likeable; you feel they understand you more)

    • Why do some students have more influence than others? (some may have better social skills or be more confident; some may intimidate others to make them do what they want because they are scared of them, some are looked up to by others)

    • How was the empty seat game we just did like peer pressure?

    • How did it feel to not be allowed to join in a group? (e.g. not being able to sit down with the group and being left in the middle)

    • How would you encourage someone to join your group?

    • What groups do we most like being part of?

    • Why can't you push yourself into a group?

    • What happens if you push yourself into a group and you are not wanted? How might this feel? Can you give examples of times this might happen to someone?

    • If you had a friend with you, do you think it would be easier to resist peer pressure?

    • Why do teachers always recommend that it’s helpful for someone who is being bullied to ask other kind students they know to support them?

    • Why do teachers always recommend that if someone is a bystander to bullying that they grab a friend to help them try to stop the bullying?

    • Is it easy to just ‘be yourself’ and still be accepted by your peers?

    • When should you trust your own judgement about how to behave when you are around other students? (when it negatively affects someone’s wellbeing or feelings; when it is something unsafe or illegal)  

  1. Explain that it is important to be able to appreciate differences in their friends rather than being critical of someone who is unlike the rest of the group. During puberty, feelings of not being ‘good enough’ or ‘not fitting in’ is common, so it’s important to identify our natural strengths and interests and make the most of them and not worry too much about what their peers might think of them.

  2. Discuss how people like to belong to groups, how people often dress the same, go to the same places, talk alike, like the same things. Include statements such as:

    • It is good to be a member of a group and have friends.

    • When we are a part of a group we are all still individuals.

    • We all want to be liked by others.

    • Sometimes we feel that we should act a certain way to stay part of the group. Is this a healthy thing? Why/why not?

    • Sometimes we may not feel good about what we are doing to stay popular in the group. What should we do in this situation?

  1. Optional activities: In small groups or pairs, ask students to:

    • Create a PowerPoint presentation about 'Groups'; or

    • Script a short role-play, interview or video about someone joining a group and the obstacles they faced. 

Independent or Small Group

This activity will help students to consider and explore a range of alternatives before making a decision about a situation involving their peers.

  1. Using the Teaching Resource: How would you feel? and some butcher’s paper, groups of four students consider how each situation would make them feel.

    • Assign a role to each member of the group, e.g. leader, manager, speaker and recorder.

  1. As a whole class, work through one of the situations using the Student Activity Sheet: Peer influence decision-making plan. Then allocate one of the situations to each group and ask the students to use the decision-making plan to explore the options and come to a decision about what they would say or do.

Reflection

The following reflection questions could be used in the whole class or independent/small group activities. As an activity session on its own, choose some of the following questions to discuss and/or write responses to.

  • Why is it important to have friends?

  • How do we try to fit in with friends?

  • Why do we sometimes feel pressure to behave in certain ways to maintain friendships?

  • What would you do if you felt too pressured by your friends?

  • Describe times when someone's peers might be a positive influence.

  • Describe times when someone's peers might be a negative influence.

Consent for touch (hugs)

Time to complete Consent for touch (hugs): 50 min

Year level: 2

Description

Students use a video and T chart for exploring different ways to ask for and give consent for touch (e.g. hugs).

Learning focus

WA Curriculum

Strategies to use when needing to seek, give or deny permission are practised; for example: saying no to inappropriate touching. 

International Technical Guidance for Sexuality Education

4.2 Consent, Privacy and Bodily Integrity: Key idea 1: Everone has the right to decide who can touch their body, where and in what way. 

Key understandings

enlightenedEveryone has 'body rights'.

enlightened'Body rights' means the right to decide who can touch their body, where, and in what way.

enlightenedThere are parts of the body that are private.

enlightenedIf someone makes me feel uncomfortable I can tell them.

enlightenedThere are trusted adults I can go to for help.

Materials

  • Consent and communication animated video by Amaze (2min 9 sec) (external link).
  • Board or butchers paper to record T chart.

  • Hand puppets or another adult to act out scenarios.

General capabilities

No General Capabilities values have been selected.

No Australian Curriculum values have been selected.

Blooms revised taxonomy

No Blooms values have been selected.

Inquiry learning phase

No Inquiry Learning phase values have been selected.


Learning activities

Video: consent and communication

Time to complete Video: consent and communication: 5 min

  1. Watch the video: Consent and communication (2 min 09 sec) in entirety.

  2. laugh Ask students:

❓ What did the animals in the video do when they didn't want to be touched?

Puffed up, moved away, rolled up in ball, spikes.

T chart - no consent

Time to complete T chart - no consent: 10 min

  1. Draw a T chart on the board with the left column titled 'No to touch'.

  2. Watch the video again, pausing at relevant points to answer the following question.

  3. laughAsk:

❓ What did the humans do to show they did not want to be touched?

Arms down, grumpy face, crossed arms, shake head, sad face, say 'no', shocked face.

  1. Under the left column of the T-chart, list the examples from the video.

No to touch

(leave blank)

arms down

 

grumpy face

 

crossed arms

 

shakes head

 

sad face

 

says 'no'

 

shocked face

 

T chart - consent

Time to complete T chart - consent: 10 min

  1. laugh Ask:

What does the word 'consent' mean? (Hint: think about the consent forms we use for excursions)

Agreeing to do something, giving permission, letting someone do something, saying 'yes'.

  1. Write the word 'consent' in the right hand column of the T chart.

  1. laugh Ask:

❓ What did the humans do in the video to show they gave consent to being touched?

Said 'yes', hugged back, moved forward towards them, oped arms, smiled and looked happy.

  1. Add an additional title on left column of the T chart that says 'No consent'. Label the right hand column as 'Consent'. List the students answers in the right hand column

No Consent

No to touch

Consent

arms down

said 'yes'

grumpy face

hugged back

       crossed arms       

 moved towards them

shakes head

happy face

sad face

opens arms

says 'no'

smiles

shocked face

 

 

 

  1. laugh Explain:

Looking at someone's body language can help you to see if they are OK with you touching them. For example, a smile or looking happy.

But these things alone don't mean they consent to you touching them.

The only way you can know for sure is to ask them and get a 'yes' in return.  

CUPS - rules of consent

Time to complete CUPS - rules of consent: 10 min

  1. Write the acronym CUPS on the board (vertically). Add each of the words 'change mind', 'understand', 'pressure is not OK', 'sure' as you explain the following.

  2. laugh Explain:

There are some important rules about consent. The word 'CUPS' can help us remember these rules.

Change mind - you are allowed to change your mind at any time. E.g. If you say, 'yes' to a hug and then you don't want to, that is OK. The person is no longer allowed to hug you. And, if you have said, 'yes' to a hug before, it does not mean it is OK for that person to hug you every time they see you. They have to ask each time.

Understand - you have to understand what you are agreeing to. E.g. If a person asks you for a hug and then they try to give you a kiss, this is not OK and is not consent.

Pressure is not OK - if someone is pressuring you, this is not OK and not consent. E.g. If you don't give me a hug, I won't be your friend any more. 

Sure - if you are not sure if you want to be touched, the person is not allowed to touch you. E.g. If someone asks you for a hug and you shrug your shoulders and say, 'maybe', this is not consent and the person is not allowed to give you a hug until they are sure you are OK with it. 

Thumb up, thumbs down - is it consent?

Time to complete Thumb up, thumbs down - is it consent?: 10 min

  1. Using hand puppets or another adult, act out the following scenes and have students give a 'thumbs up' or 'thumbs down' to indicate if it is 'consent' or 'not consent'. 

Scenario 1 (C - changes mind)

Character 1: Hi Jay, I've missed you. Can I give you a hug?

Character 2: (arms open, smiling) YES! I'd love a hug, I've missed you too!

Character 1: (runs up very fast to character 1)

Character 2: (steps backwards, looks worried and puts hand up to stop character 1)

Character 1: (forcibly hugs character 2)

Not consent - character one changed their mind and their body language showed this.

 

Scenario 2 (U- understands what they are agreeing to) 

Character 1: Hi Jay, I've missed you. Can I give you a hug?

Character 2: (arms open, smiling) YES! I'd love a hug, I've missed you too!

Character 1: (gives character 2 a warm hug and then kisses them on the cheek).

Not consent - they consented to a hug but not a kiss.

 

Scenario 3 (P - pressure)

Grandma: Oh how you have grown! I haven't seen you for so long. Come give grandma a kiss! (puckers lips)

Grandchild: No thank you grandma.

Grandma: Oh dear, I won't be giving you the present I brought you then!

Grandchild: (looking sad and unsure) Uhhhh, ummmm, OK.

Grandma: (kisses granddaughter).

Not consent - Grandma pressured the grandchild.

 

Scenario 4 (S - sure)

Grandma: Oh how you have grown! I haven't seen you for so long. Come give grandma a kiss! (puckers lips)

Grandchild: No thank you grandma but I would love a big hug!

Grandma: Wonderful, I love your hugs! (Gives grandchild a big hug)

Consent - clear and specific.

Trusted adults

Time to complete Trusted adults: 5 min

  1. laugh Explain:

If someone touches you without consent, you are not to blame.

Tell them to stop and tell a trusted adult for help.

  1. Revise the trusted adult 'helping hand' by asking students to think of 5 adults (one for each finger) that they can go to for help if they need it.

yes Teaching tip: It is important not to tell the students who their 5 adults are as they will be different for each student. 

  1. Display the Kidshelpline number (1800 55 1800) in your classroom and remind students that this can be on of the 5 trusted adults they can seek help from. 

Take home activity

Ask students to talk to talk to each of the people on their 'helping hand' and tell them that they are one of their trusted adults that they would like to talk to if ever they need help.

Health promoting schools strategy

Partnerships - parents

 

Walkern Katatdjin Phase 2: National Survey Community Report


Research and reports
Teacher
Parent
Australia
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National Survey of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBTQA+ young people's menta health and social and emotional wellbeing by Telethon Kids Institute.

https://www.rainbowknowledge.org/_files/ugd/7ca884_a317912c5e75464c88c46230b0b80700.pdf

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Dealing with disclosures

 

Overview

Disclosures of personal issues are a possibility in any program that addresses relationships and sexuality. Teachers must be aware of school and legal procedures if a student discloses personal issues, particularly disclosures of sexual abuse.

The sensitive nature of Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) requires the creation of a safe space where students feel comfortable to express their ideas in a supportive environment; this can lead to disclosures concerning themselves, peers or members of their family. Disclosures of sexual identity, sexual feelings, sexual behaviours, physical/emotional abuse, or sexual assault may occur. 

The confidentiality of students' personal issues should be maintained, except in instance where a student disclosure indicates abuse or neglect.

Children and young people are most likely to disclosure abuse to adults they trust; all staff have a responsibility to listen supportively, believe and support the child or young person.

Disclaimer: The information given here is intended for information only. If you have a legal issue, you should see a lawyer.

 

Protective interrupting

If it appears a student may make a personal disclosure at an inappropriate time, protective interruption is a technique that can be used to redirect the conversation and offer the student an opportunity to talk in a safe and confidential manner. This helps to protect the student who is disclosing, the person the student is disclosing to, and any other people who are present at the time. 

Read Protective interrupting for a step by step of how to use this technique.

 

Disclosures of abuse

Everyone working in a school is responsible for the care and protection of children and for reporting concerns about child protection. The WA Department of Education's Child Protection Policy explains the actions to be taken by staff to protect children in circumstances where abuse is suspected or when allegations of child abuse are made (emotional, physical, sexual, neglect or a child witnessing violence).

Mandatory reporting (sexual abuse)

Teachers, boarding supervisors, police, doctors, nurses and midwives are required by law to report beliefs of child sexual abuse to the Mandatory Reporting Service of the Department of Child Protection and Family Support. (Ph: 1800 708 704 or report online.)

 

 

Reporting of other forms of abuse

If teachers have concerns about a child's wellbeing that does not require mandatory reporting, the Central Intake Team at the Department of Communities Child Protection and Family support can be contacted on 1800 273 889 or cpduty@cpfs.wa.gov.au. 

 

Responding to a child disclosing abuse

A disclosure of abuse by a child or young person is motivated by the need for safety, protection, support or information. Your response can have a great impact on the student's ability to seek further help and recover from possible trauma. Responding appropriately also ensure that your actions do not jeopardise any legal action against an abuser. 

The most important things you can do are:

  • believe them

  • reassure them that telling someone was the right thing to do

  • do not ask leading questions

  • do not get them to repeat their story a number of times

  • let them know what you will do next

  • do not confront the person alleged to be the abuser

  • record the disclosure verbatim (including details of what prompted the disclosure if possible)

  • follow the school procedures for reporting abuse.

 

Things TO SAY when a child discloses abuse

Things NOT TO SAY when a child discloses abuse

  • "I believe you."

  • "I am going to try to help you."

  • "I am glad that you told me."

  • "You are not to blame."

  • "I can't believe it!"

  • "Why didn't you tell someone before?"

  • "I am shocked!"

  • "Oh that explains a lot."

  • "No, not (insert name), he/she couldn't have!"

  • "I won't tell anyone else."

  • "Why? How? When? Where? Who?"

  • "I will make sure this won't happen again."

 

 

Who can assist in child abuse matters?

 

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Looking after yourself

It is important to be aware that receiving a disclosure can be very stressful and you may need to seek support form a colleague, the Employee Assistance Program at your organisation, or mental health organisations such as BeyondBlue. 

 

Professional Development

Compulsory training

Department of Education schools:

All teaching and support staff, boarding supervisors and line managers of staff who have contact with children must complete Child Protection and Abuse Prevention online professional learning. The course is available to Department of Education employees via the Professional Learning tab in the Portal and must be updated every three years. Principals must confirm that staff complete this course using the staff status report on the Portal. 

Non-government schools:

The requirements for child abuse prevention professional learning for all staff is outlined in Standard 12 of the Registration Standards - Non Government Schools.

Professional learning opportunities are listed on the AISWA Professional Learning page and CEWA Professional Learning Portal. Face-to-face training is encouraged but the online module on the CPFS website can also be used. 

Community health nurses:

Community health nurses must complete the Department of Health training. 

 

Teaching protective behaviours to children

Schools must implement protective behaviours education that aligns with the Western Australian Curriculum across all phases of schooling. 

Organisations that offer professional development on teaching children protective behaviours:

Curtin RSE Project

Safe 4 Kids

WA Child Safety Services (WACSS)

PB West

See GDHR Professional Development for upcoming workshops and events.

 

Related policies, guidelines and recommendations

Child Protection in Department of Education Site Policy

Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

 

Further reading

Department of Education - Indicators of abuse (external site).

 

References

WA Department of Education det.wa.edu.au/childprotection/detcms/portal

Children and Community Services Amendent (Reporting Sexual Abuse of Children) Act 2008

Department of Communities, Child Protection and Family Support. 


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