How a new government sex ed programme can have “a damaging effect” on women, according to one expert.
The Government’s new national sex education curriculum, known as Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), has triggered widespread criticism from campaigners.
The new guidelines, which include a requirement that students show “a commitment to a healthy sex life”, come amid a national debate about how the sex industry is portrayed in the media.
One of the country’s leading sex therapists, Dr Gillian Macdonald, has criticised the new curriculum, saying that the curriculum does not go far enough to tackle the harms of sex work.
“I think there are plenty of positives to this, but I think there’s still a lot of things to be improved,” she told ABC Radio’s Lateline.
Dr Macdonald said the new guidelines are also an unnecessary and unnecessary increase in the number of sex workers.
“It is not clear what the benefits of this [sex education] are, and it is not known what the costs are,” she said.
“And it’s quite easy to see the positives from that, which is we’re seeing young people start to be more open and accepting about sex work.”
She also said the guidelines were a “misleading” attempt to target women in particular, as well as “a very negative” attempt by the Government to “silence and marginalise women and girls”.
Dr Macdonas fears that the guidelines could lead to a backlash against sex workers, and “a lot of women are going to be forced to do more sex work”.
Sex workers in Australia Dr MacDONAS: “I don’t know how we can expect to support people who work with vulnerable people.
We’re talking about sex workers who have mental health issues, we’re talking in the workplace.”
Dr MacDermot MacDUNDY: “You can’t talk about what you think is going to happen with sex workers because they’re not going to have their own stories and their own experience.”
But Dr MacDonald said that the new guidance would be an “over-reaction” if the “primary purpose” of the curriculum was to prevent sex work in the first place.
She said that a “critical mass” of sex industry workers were already registered with the authorities, and that the Government was “making a real effort” to educate women about the dangers of the industry.
“There’s an awareness around the dangers, and the reality of the situation,” she added.
But Dr McDermott MacDUDA: “They’re trying to scare women into staying away from sex work, so we’re not seeing any progress on the frontline.”
Dr Mcdermot, a clinical psychologist, is also a senior lecturer in sex work at the University of Queensland.
She says that the Sex Offenders Register is a vital tool for sex workers to report crimes and ensure that their clients are protected.
She also says that it is vital that people can find information about sex offenders, including what they are, how they act and their victims.
“We need to have access to the information, we need to know what they’re doing, and we need access to help with things like counselling, and our health and wellbeing needs need to be addressed,” she says.
“This information is really important for us as sex workers.”
Dr Dermot McDUADA: “We are living in an environment where we have this huge amount of sex, where we’ve got this great system that makes it so that people are safe and safe and happy.
Dr O’Connor says she has also seen a shift in the attitudes of young people. “
So we need a system that allows us to be protected from that exploitation, but also enables us to make a life in this world.”
Dr O’Connor says she has also seen a shift in the attitudes of young people.
“For the most part, the young people I speak to, they are very supportive and open, but it’s also clear that there’s a fear of sex,” she tells ABC Radio National.
“They don’t want to be seen as a potential danger to themselves or their partner, and they do not want to become part of the sex trade, they’re scared to speak up about it, because it’s so stigmatised and they feel like they don’t belong.”
So for a lot, I think that we’ve seen a dramatic change in the last few years, but for young people in particular and I think for their own lives, they really need to hear that message.