MEDIA RELEASE: New approach needed in schools as dozen exploited by pornography ring

The NSW Opposition is calling for immediate action from the Baird Government to protect students from close to 30 schools who have been exploited by an online pornographic ring.

Young men and teenage boys have secretly been exchanging graphic sexual images purportedly of female students, many of them underage, on the internet.

The website reportedly allows anonymous posts, and is understood to have content from more than 70 schools nationally.

The Victorian Government last year responded to community concerns surrounding revenge porn and violence towards women by launching the Respectful Relationships Education pilot in 19 schools.

Focused on educating students from Kindergarten to Year 12 about gender, violence and respectful relationships, the program has reinforced how vital early intervention is in preventing violence. It has since been rolled out to all government schools in the state.

However, in NSW, the Baird Government has failed to introduce a comprehensive curriculum package to help shape positive attitudes and behaviours, particularly towards women.

The PDHPE curriculum currently includes just one component on respectful relationships and is only a voluntary subject for senior students.

“Love Bites” presents a similar program in NSW but is not fully funded by government, and it is up to schools as to whether they implement the program.

Quotes attributable to the Shadow Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, Jenny Aitchison

“This is sexual abuse of these young women and girls. It should not be tolerated and perpetrators should face the full force of the law.

“We have seen the success of the Respectful Relationships Education program in Victoria. It is time the Baird Government looked at introducing a similar program in NSW.

“While everyone should recognise the risks involved in sending or posting explicit images, when we see issues of power, control and inequality in relationships, it is harder for the victims to say no.”

Quotes attributable to Shadow Education Minister Jihad Dib

“Whilst teaching respectful relationships appears in some syllabus dot points we need to explicitly teach social behaviour across the curriculum.

“We need to give students the support and knowledge they need to know that risky behaviour can have lifelong consequences.”

Quotes attributable to Shadow Justice and Police Minster Guy Zangari

“This is abhorrent. All efforts must be made to prosecute those who have posted to the site and give support to victims.

“People who have information must come forward and give any details to police so that those who perpetrated this can be brought to justice. To contact police call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.”

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