6,418 schools registered for the 2023 National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence (NDA), Australia's key bullying prevention initiative for schools.
The 2023 NDA theme, 'Growing connections', focused on the importance of building strong school community connections and social skills to help prevent bullying. The NDA also provided an opportunity for schools to create a shared understanding about bullying behaviours and outline bullying prevention policies at their school.
If you are a teacher you can continue to use the growing connections teaching and learning activities at any time during the school year to help children and young people to identify and grow positive connections with their peers and school community.
In 2024, the NDA will be on Friday 16 August and registrations will open during Term 2 2024.
Bullying. No Way!
Australian first occurred in Canberra later that month. In an emotional speech on Wednesday March 22nd, Andrew Barr, the Chief Minister of the ACT introduced legislation into the Legislative Assembly to protect the medical rights of intersex Canberrans making the ACT the first Australian jurisdiction to legalise such important protections.
This piece of work reflects many years of hard work, tireless advocacy and many other parallel and overlapping pieces of work coming together to get us to this point. SAIS would like to particularly acknowledge the work of Equality Australia, Intersex Human Rights Australia, Intersex Peer Support Australia, and A Gender Agenda in this process.
To better understand the experiences and needs of young people in the ACT, The ACT Safe and Inclusive School’s Initiative undertook a series of visits to LGBTIQA+ and ally student groups in ACT High Schools and Colleges.
Visits to student groups were arranged via email with supervising staff and were conducted during their regular meeting times (usually during lunch hours) with teachers present. A total of 10 student groups were visited from March to May 2021. Unfortunately, further group visits were impacted by the second COVID-19 lockdown period in the second half of that year.
We visited 7 High schools with students from Years 7-10 (12-15 years old) and 3 Colleges with students in Year 11 and 12 (16-18 years old). Nine school groups visited were in ACT public schools and 1 group was at a private/independent school.
Students were asked to reflect on what is working well at school to support LGBTIQA+ students, and what they would like to see more of to support LGBTIQA+ students. From the student responses we discovered that student groups/safe spaces, active affirmation and support from the school and staff, and celebration of days of significance were the biggest positive supports identified by students. Conversely students identified that more classroom education, additional support from the school and staff, and more work to address bullying and the use of slurs was needed.
From these findings, SAIS recommends that inclusive education, active support and affirmation from schools and staff, alongside work to address the experiences of bullying and harassment experienced by LGBTIQA+ students, should continue to form the basis of future work in this area.
Additionally, we can confirm that the presence of a student group and support from the school were highly valued and considered beneficial by students. From this, we also recommend that future work in this area endeavours to support the student leadership opportunities, foster community connection, and provide social support through these groups.
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Wednesday, 26 October is Intersex Awareness Day.
Here at Safe and Inclusive Schools, we promote health and wellbeing for all, and believe that intersex people are important and valued members of our community.
“Intersex” is an umbrella term for over 40 known variations in sex characteristics, that exist outside of the social and medical ideas of ‘female’ and ‘male’ bodies. Up to 2% of the world’s population is intersex, however many people have never even heard the word ‘intersex’ before. Intersex Awareness Day exists primarily to highlight human rights issues faced by intersex people. This Intersex Awareness Day we encourage others learn about, support and stand with intersex people.
For more information on these human rights issues and to learn more about meaningful allyship you can read, and affirm the Darlington Statement.
This is a 2017 joint consensus statement between intersex organisations and independent advocates from Australia and Aotearoa/New Zealand.
It sets out the priorities and calls by the intersex human rights movement in both of our countries.
The ACT Government has also taken significant steps to address some of these issues such as protecting the rights of intersex people in medical settings. You can read about this below:
If you work in educational settings or with young people, SHFPACT in partnership with A Gender Agenda released:
Including Intersex: responding to issues affecting the educational experiences of intersex students in Australia last year.
You can download the resource and read more about it below:
For other information, news and intersex content visit Intersex Human Rights Australia.
Intersex Human Rights Australia
Sexual Health & Family Planning ACT is now offering specially curated School Library Book Packs. They have been created with input from teachers and librarians in the ACT. Each pack contains ten plus books that affirm LGBTIQA+ and family diversity in our community.
Currently, 40 book packs are available:
- Early Years
- Primary Schools
- High Schools and
School Libary Book Packs Book packs are limited to one pack per school and made possible through a Capital Equality Grant from the ACT Government and Office of LGBTIQ Affairs.