Tackling Sexual Assault: Compulsory Self-defence Classes for Victorian Secondary Students

Ellijahna Victoria
Law & Order Reporter
YMCA Youth Press Gallery


VICTORIAN students have called for compulsory self-defence classes at secondary schools in a bid to combat the threat of violence and sexual assaults.

The call was made at the annual YMCA Youth Parliament where a Deakin University team tabled a bill to have self-defense a compulsory part of Year 7 and 8 curriculum. The bill was successfully passed by the participants.

Deakin student Lena De Rosso said the bill aimed to tackle sexual violence by teaching students martial arts skills to defend themselves if assaulted.

“We just want to provide an opportunity for potential victims to have the necessary skills to adequately protect themselves,” she says.

“Even though [violence against young people] doesn’t make the news headlines , it is there. It’s a silent crime in our society and we need to work hard to eradicate silent crime.”

Deakin University team members
Deakin University team members

Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics reveal one in five Australian women face sexual violence in their lifetime, while one in 22 men are assaulted. Females aged 18 to 24 were the most likely target.

Elsewhere, a Canadian study has found that university women participating in a rape-prevention program involving “resistance training” were significantly less likely to be sexually assaulted in the next year.

If adopted by the state government, self defence classes will also be made available to all Victorians above the age of 16, at twice-yearly intervals.

A spokesperson for Victorian Education Minister, James Merlino said the government welcomes the student ideas.

“Students should be taught the values of respecting each other, and learn positive ways to resolve situations without turning to anger.”

The 2015 YMCA Youth Parliament concluded on Thursday. More than 20 bills first passed by Youth Parliament have gone on to influence state legislation.

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