On Air Now
Heart Breakfast with Jamie Theakston and Zoe Hardman 6:30am - 10am
31 July 2019, 11:59
Schools in Australia have started to teach a 'Respect Matters' programme, which has caused controversy on social media.
In a bid to educate young people about consent, children are now being encouraged to say no to kisses from their grandmother.
A new school programme, called Respect Matters, is currently coming into action in Australia and was designed to help kids learn about consent, emotions and gender equality.
While it’s not compulsory, it has been introduced in eastern states including New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria.
But one scenario in the programme has sparked a fierce debate among parents, as it suggests children have the right to turn down kisses from their grandmothers.
Unsurprisingly, social media users are totally divided, with one writing on Twitter: “How Ridiculous so now Grandparents are Predators this Political Correctness had to stop…”
Another said: “What a ridiculous program. This is just going too far. What empowers these children is the love and affection from their Grandparents who play a big role in their lives.”
While a third added: “Seriously? Who comes up with these things? What about explaining sexual abuse and what consent is instead !!!”
But not everyone disagrees with the idea, with one user writing: “Good idea to teach young kids the concept of consent at a young age and with scenarios they can understand.”
And Childhood educator Margie Buttress has insisted the program will help youngsters understand how to navigate relationships and deal with uncomfortable issues.
“We’re talking about situations such as Grandma wants to swoop in for the big sloppy kiss and if the child doesn’t want that to happen what can they do,” she told ABC news.
She added: "And they can respectfully say 'no thanks Grandma, let's have a hug instead'. Or if it's someone they don't know, 'let's high five, let's fist bump'."
Back in the UK, more than 30 universities have signed up to teach Consent Matters courses to their students.
In a bid to crack down on sexual assault on campus’, many now require their students to complete a 40-minute multiple-choice exam before getting their exam results each semester.
Oxford University also brought in compulsory sexual consent workshops for all freshers in 2016.