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Family Planning concerned by Mates and Dates programme

Family Planning concerned by Mates and Dates programme and funding

Family Planning Chief Executive Jackie Edmond says ACCs decision, without consultation, to fund an isolated, stand-alone relationships and consent programme is disappointing.

“We have concerns with the decision by ACC to fund Mates and Dates,” Ms Edmond says.

“There is no doubt that secondary school students need comprehensive sexuality education including consent, healthy relationships and sexuality. Family Planning, teachers, and sexual health experts have been saying this for years, but this programme does not, at this stage, meet the needs of learners and educators”.

“Leaving teachers and educators out of the loop is worrying to us. Programmes to support our young people need to be carefully considered and should not exclude those who know learners best.”

“Health teachers have so much to offer – their knowledge and their ability to put their students at ease to feel safe to talk about these difficult topics is priceless. That’s why it is a surprise to us that funding isn’t going directly to teachers and schools to deliver these vital programmes”.

We know that comprehensive sexuality education should be taught in a safe and supportive environment, by a teacher who is known to the students. . A programme where outsiders swoop in and out is just not going to be as effective.

The UN Committee reviewing the status of women in New Zealand had a strong message for the government in its report recommendations released this week.

The Committee recommendations said that young people have the right to culturally sensitive and age-appropriate education on sexual and reproductive health and rights and responsible sexual behaviour, focusing on the prevention and the consequences of early pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.

Family Planning hope that this will be considered and any programmes for students around sexual health and healthy relationships will be created in consultation with teachers and educators.

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