Presentation on theme: "Challenging sexuality & gender based bullying in schools"— Presentation transcript:
1 Challenging sexuality & gender based bullying in schools I acknowledge and thank the for the warm welcome to country. I would like to also acknowledge that this meeting is being held on the traditional lands of the , and pay my respect to elders both past and present.”Marc Newhouse: LGBTIQ Schools Project OfficerEqual Opportunity Commission
2 ContextIn 2010 the third Writing Themselves In national survey was undertaken by the Australian Research Centre in Sex Health & Society (La Trobe University)3134 people from all over Australia aged 14 to 21 years surveyed75 % experienced some homophobic abuse61% experienced verbal homophobic abuse18% experienced homophobic physical abuse80% of this abuse happened at school!Levels of abuse have increased since surveys of and 2004.
3 Writing Themselves in 3: WA 81% of WA Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transsexual Intersex & Questioning (GLBTIQ) students classify their school as NOT supportiveNo-one could identify as potentially supportive.Did not see themselves included anywhere eg in sex education classes.Homophobic comments, jokes etc tolerated, not questioned43% of WA GLBTIQ students consider their schools to be ACTIVELY HOMOPHOBICA higher figure than any other stateTaught homosexuality can be cured.Not taught homophobia wrong.No action against bullies.46% of WA GLBTIQ students attended a school with no social support features :friendliness, students who speak up against homophobia’or structural support features (library books, links to groups/services, posters)WA & Queensland were on a par as the most UNSUPPORTIVE states in Australia
4 Equal Opportunity Act 1984 (WA) Sexual Orientation & Gender HistorySex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth)Marital or relationship statusSexual orientationGender identityIntersex StatusUnlawful Sexual harassment: homophobic & transphobic bullying can be suggestive comments or jokes, insults or taunts, pictures, s or texts sent by the bully and intrusive questions about a person’s private life
5 Why is the EOC involved?Convention on the Rights of the Child requires that Australia protects children and young people from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse.Equal Opportunity Act 1984: Inform/educate/rights/ obligations/ eliminate discriminatory policies/practices/complaintsWriting Themselves in Three report (2010) identified that the most common place of verbal & physical homophobic abuse is at schoolApproximately 10% of young people acknowledge feelings of same-sex attraction while they are at school.A smaller percentage of students question their gender. For many students, these feelings begin during primary school or earlier.As a nation, Australia is a signatory to international human rights treaties including the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The ICCPR prohibits discrimination and affirms equality on the grounds of sexual orientation. The ICESCR sets out the right to education, rights in relation to work, and the right to equality in education and employment.The CRC requires that Australia protects children and young people from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse. It recognises that education of children and young people should be focused on enabling them to reach their full potential, and to develop respect for human rights and diversity. It requires children and young people to be protected against discrimination because of, for example, their gender or sexual orientation, or that of their parents or other family members.These documents can be accessed via the Australian Human Rights Commission website:
6 The projectIn June 2010 the EOC started the challenging sexuality & gender based bullying in schools projectAims of the project are to:Bring school and GLBTI communities together to find ways to address the specific needs of this extremely vulnerable groupRaise awareness about this serious issue in WAEquality and freedom from discrimination are fundamental human rights that belong to all people, irrespective of sexual orientation, gender identity or because they are intersex.However, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, gender diverse and intersex (LGBTI) people in Australia can experience discrimination, harassment and hostility in many areas of everyday life.This can include discrimination and bullying in places of work and study, difficulties accessing appropriate health and aged care services and community attitudes that can lead to harassment and violence.Trans, gender diverse and intersex people can also face barriers getting legal recognition of their sex in official documents and government records.The Commission has undertaken a number of major projects to identify and build community awareness around the human rights issues faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex people:
7 Consult & Engage with key stakeholders MethodologyConsult & Engage with key stakeholdersThe objectives of the initial stage of the consultation and engagement stage are to:Inform the Commission’s engagement and training Strategy in relation to DSG students in the Public Education system and,Assess current policies, perceptions and attitudes within the public & private education systems in relation to DSG studentsEstablish a high level Steering Group comprising of key stakeholdersEstablish a task based Working GroupSteering & Working Group membership: Equal Opportunity Commission, Department of Education, WA Gender Project, Gay and Lesbian Community Services, Gay and Lesbian Equality, Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, WA AIDS Council, State School Teachers Union WA, University of Western Australia, UnitingCare West, WA Secondary School Executives Association, Relationships Australia, Catholic Education Office, WA Curriculum Council, Department of Health – Child and Adolescent Community Health, Uniting Church WA, Youth Affairs Council WA
8 Steering Group (senior reps) Working Group (service delivery staff) Membership -16 organisations Department of EducationWA Secondary School Executives Association,Freedom CentreRelationships Australia,WA Gender ProjectGay and Lesbian Community ServicesCatholic Education Office,WA Curriculum Council,Gay and Lesbian EqualityDepartment of Health – Child & Adolescent Community Health,Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and GaysUniting Church WA,WA AIDS CouncilYouth Affairs Council WAState School Teachers Union WAUniversity of Western AustraliaUnitingCare West True Colours
9 What we have achievedNationwide Education Department Policy Comparison and GAP analysis.A research report into sexuality and gender based bullying in WA schools produced by co-researcher and writer of Writing Themselves In 3,Tiffany JonesRefer them to Executive summary, Facts sheets in packs. Point to copies of the report.A fact sheet seriesproduced by the EOCto help staff, parents and students deal with sexualityand gender basedbullyingResource materials for schools to encourage them to develop their own policies
10 Fact sheets for schools The fact sheets have been sent to every primary and secondary school in WAMany schools have requested extra copies to be sent to their school with one school including a link to the fact sheets in their weekly online newsletter to parents
11 It is more difficult for young people to access help Key Finding?School based direct protective policies: explicitly name homophobic & transphobic discrimination and bullying - make a dramatic difference to self-harm and suicide ratesIt is more difficult for young people to access helpHomophobic bullying is different to standard bullying in that historically there has been broad institutional support for homophobic beliefsThe alienation resulting from homophobic bullying is likely to be more absoluteIt may be harder for school staff to challenge homophobic abuse than other bullying such as race
12 DirectIndirectSpecifies to educators that GLBTI young people are a at risk groupGuarantees inclusive education for GLBTI young peopleFlow through of guidelines, programs, curriculum and supportExpects principals to know about GLBTI issuesRelies on individual teachers to include what they believe constitutes diversityLeaves open the possibility of homophobic/transphobic teachers to present GLBTI young people negativelyNo flow throughDirect: A policy makes a clear distinction between homophobic/transphobic bullying and other forms and details specific strategies to deal with them.Indirect: Does not make a distinction between homophobic/transphobic bullying and other forms. Only includes GLBTI as part of a general diversity framework.
13 Why have a direct policy? In schools where specific policies were implemented young people were 20% less likely to self harm and over 10% less likely to suicide REGARDLESS of abuse, they were 22% less likely to be abused and students felt 40% safer!Provides support for students to lead change and get involved in anti-homophobia projects
14 Launch - Distribution: Next Steps...Launch - Distribution:Guidelines Supporting Sexual & Gender Diversity in SchoolsStaff Survey
15 Safe School Coalition … A ‘Safe Schools’ coalition following the Victorian modelThe Safe Schools coalition in Victoria has over 41 members including private and church schools at primary and secondary levelsWith funding from the Victorian government it provides support for schools to tackle homophobia and support gender and sexual diversityProvides professional development opportunities for all school staffCreates and distributes improved and updated resources for teachers and studentsDevelop membership for schools and school workersProvides support for students to lead change and get involved in anti- homophobia projects
16 Feedback from WA“The more frequently the issue is talked about, the quicker the message will disseminate!”“Great conversations! Keep having them.”“I feel as a future primary school teacher I would love to find out what strategies, tools I can use in my classroom.”“I feel as a future primary school teacher I would love to find out what strategies, tools I can use in my classroom.”
17 Contact Details Telephone: 9216 3900 Internet: www.eoc.wa.gov.au Address: Level 2 Westralia Square St Georges Terrace Perth
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