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Australian Experts To Vet Next Sexual Consent Videos

A panel of more than 20 organizations will develop new resources for schools after consent videos went viral.

CANBERRA, Australia — There will be no repeat of milkshake and taco videos to explain sexual consent and coercion for Australian children.

A respectful relationships reference panel of more than 20 organizations will develop new resources after videos made for schools went viral for all the wrong reasons.

A milkshake-themed consent video was canned in April following widespread criticism and a swimming with sharks video intended to explain coercion. There were no direct references to sex, rape, or assault.

Developed and approved by education department officials, the two videos were part of a Respect Matters campaign to teach children and teenagers about respectful relationships.

Developed and approved by education department officials, the two videos were part of a Respect Matters campaign to teach children and teenagers about respectful relationships. (CDC/Unsplash)

“If there is one lesson we have learned is to listen to voices of experts, and that’s precisely what we’re going to do,” federal education department head Michele Bruniges told a Senate estimates hearing on June 3.

Teachers can access professional learning and engaging educational resources for students. Respect Matters helps students build safe and respectful relationships with their peers and the broader community.

The resources available help students improve their skills and knowledge in areas including consent, self-respect, respecting others, resolving conflict, shared decision making.

The learning activities and resources have been developed for students from Foundation to Year 12.

The Respect Matters program includes the Good Society online platform. The Good Society platform allows teachers to select and assign resources for use in their classrooms. This provides flexibility for teachers to address the specific needs of their students and the school community.

Respect Matters is part of the Australian Governments’ National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022. The aim is to change the view of young people towards violence.

Officials said they could not isolate the cost of the two scrapped videos from the more than AU$3.4 million ($2.62 million) paid to digital design company Liquid Interactive for the “good society” website.

The department’s internal panel of experts has been scrapped and replaced with a new respectful relationships reference panel of 23 organizations.

Bruniges said deep knowledge about family and domestic violence is essential, along with a parent voice and primary school principals.

She also conceded the six years taken to roll out the project was “longer than most.”

Some AU$ 5 million ($3.86 million) was assigned to the program in 2015 under a women’s safety package. The campaign received a top-up of AU$2.8 million ($2.16 million) to use between 2019/20 and 2021/22.

Some AU$ 350,000 ($270,147) of the top-up has been used so far.

Labor wants all 350 resources on the website reviewed by experts.

(Edited by Vaibhav Vishwanath Pawar and Ojaswin Kathuria)