Improved sex education would reduce sex offences

Gender experts argue that the current “risk-focused approach” to sex education, “teaching only about preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease”, is leaving young people unprepared for issues that arise in their relationships. Professor Catharine Lumby says, “Our sex education needs to teach the ‘no means no’ message, but we also need to teach what does ‘yes mean yes’ look like? And how do you know when you want to say yes?” The experts are calling for a new approach, which would “include lessons on sexual assault, consent and ‘sexting’ in a bid to address rising rates of violence against women”.  The Victorian government is preparing new laws to address the increasing prevalence of teenage sexting, which is currently treated as child pornography. It is also reviewing the element of consent in sexual offences such as rape, due to concerns that the law is “highly complex and difficult to explain to juries”.