Calls for mandatory consent education in schools

Students in Christchurch are pushing for New Zealand to follow Australia's lead and make consent education mandatory in schools.

A programme's been run at Christchurch Girls' High School after a survey last year found more than a quarter of students had been sexually harassed.

The survey also found 20 students had allegedly been raped.

Head prefect Hawwa Niyaz said the school has been trying to make it easier to tackle the difficult subject by getting senior students to work with their peers.

"These connectors are trained on the landscape of sexual harm, the entire police reporting process and how to bank a report away for later if they're not comfortable to deal with it right now.

"Young people are way more likely to disclose their experiences to someone they're comfortable with specifically of their own age," Niyaz said.

Principal Christine O'Neill said this year it was compulsory for Year 11 students to take part in consent education classes, and it will be extended to Year 12 students in 2023.

The National Council of Women has set up a branch at the school in the hope students are heard by politicians.

Associate Education Minister Jan Tinetti said the curriculum will be updated in 2024.

"I'm really happy that we're having these pre-discussions now because I think we will be able to go into this with eyes wide open and really understand what the issues are in this area."