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Teaching students to deal with sexual harassment

Commission Commission – General

Tuesday 16 September 2003

MEDIA ALERT

Teaching students
to deal with sexual harassment

Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner Pru Goward will introduce
a one-day workshop for high school students on how to deal with sexual harassment
on 18 September at Unley High School, Adelaide.

The Human Rights Youth Challenge program titled ‘Tackling
Sexual Harassment in your School’
is an interactive day of discussion
and debate for students from various schools in the region.

Students focus on examples of harassment in a video ‘hypothetical’
and then work together to develop strategies and skills to deal with harassment
in schools.

"Sexual and homophobic harassment are issues that face
students every day,” said Commissioner Goward.

“It can happen when people yell abuse, make suggestive
comments, and through touching, staring, email and text messages. Sexual harassment
is any behaviour of a sexual kind that offends, intimidates or humiliates another
person.

“These types of harassment cause a lot of hurt and damage
to students. It can undermine their confidence and affect the decisions they
make - like whether or not to leave school.

“We want to encourage young people to understand that
they can help change the environment around them and work to promote good relationships,
based on respect,” Ms Goward said.

“This kind of respect often comes when we take the time
to stand in someone else’s shoes and try and feel what they feel, particularly
if they’re being harassed or bullied.”

The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission
has conducted successful Youth Challenge programs throughout September in Townsville
(3rd), Brisbane (4th) and Perth (11th).

MS GOWARD WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEWS/PHOTOS
at 11.30 am on Thursday 18 September 2003
at Unley High School
Kitchener Street, Netherby, SA
Media Contact: Paul Oliver (02) 9284 9880 or 0408 469 347

Last
updated 14 October 2003