National child protection organisation Act for Kids has issued a warning to school leavers, parents and guardians before Schoolies celebrations kick off around the country.
While it’s been a longstanding tradition for school leavers to mark the end of high school with a week of partying, a concerning sexual culture has emerged around the celebrations.
It comes after reports surfaced last year of a disturbing Schoolies “checklist” of tasks circulating on social media, many of which involved sexual acts with “chicks”.
This is separate from the number of alleged sexual assaults reported to police, other authorities and incidents that go unreported.
Act for Kids Executive Director Service, Strategy and Growth, Thomas McIntyre, said while the statistics may be shocking for parents, this only highlighted the need for them to talk to their teens about how to stay safe during Schoolies.
“Some school leavers have described an ‘intense sexual culture’ surrounding these celebrations and we’ve also read reports of teens being pressured to have sex, with threats of humiliation and other acts if they don’t – this behaviour is not OK,” Mr McIntyre said.
“That is why we’re encouraging parents to have a conversation with their teens before they head to Schoolies to make sure they’re educated about safe sex, consent and respectful relationships.
“It’s also a good idea to have a follow-up discussion with your teens after they return home to remind them they can always ask you questions and talk to you.”
Tips for parents:
- Talk regularly with your teens about safe sex, consent and respectful relationships, rather than having ‘the chat’.
- Don’t make it awkward – it’s important to remember if you don’t talk to them, they may get their information online or from an unsafe or unreliable source.
- Remind your teen they can always ask you questions and talk to you, or offer them the contact number for a safe resource.
- Obtain the names and numbers of your teens’ accommodation provider, closest friends and their parents before they head to Schoolies.
Tips for Schoolies:
- Stick with your friends and look out for each other.
- Call 000 in any emergencies and keep other emergency contacts handy.
- Check in with your family and friends regularly – even if it’s just via text.
– ENDS –
For photo, video and interview opportunities, please contact Melanie Whiting, media and advocacy
M: 0427 794 666