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New sexual consent education material is in the works in NSW

The NSW government is developing a new suite of school learning resources for sexual consent education and “respectful relationships”.

The heads of the NSW Catholic, independent and state school systems in March signed a statement of intent to improve consent education in schools.

The move comes after more than 38,000 people signed a petition, started by former Sydney schoolgirl Chanel Contos, calling for earlier and better education around sexual consent in schools.

Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said in a statement on Sunday a new package of learning materials was currently in the works.

It includes “lesson sequences and stage-appropriate teaching activities” and is linked to the Personal Development, Health and Physical Education curriculum.

Schools have previously requested curriculum changes, increased support for teachers and school leaders, better communication with students and improved community and parent connections as starting points.

“This government has made very clear its intentions to work with the community to combat sexual violence,” Ms Mitchell said.

“Schools play an important role, side by side with parents, to instill the values in our students and children on what is acceptable behaviour and how to foster respectful relationships.”

The government also this week announced reforms to NSW’s sexual consent laws that will make it easier to successfully prosecute sexual assault cases.

Under the laws, accused rapists would only be able to prove sex was consensual if they took active steps to obtain consent.

The new legislation is hoped to be in place by the end of the year.

If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au.

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