New sex program to help young kids

Alison Rahn works locally as a sex therapist, but as the mother of a teenage daughter she finds herself paying particular attention to what she hears around the tracks regarding young people.

“A lot of what I hear just horrifies me,” she said.

Now Alison, together with co-facilitators Sarah Kell and Casie Winkler, will present for the first time in northern NSW the ‘Sex and Ethics’ program for young people aged 16 to 24.

The program, from the University of Western Sydney, is the result of work by researcher Moira Carmody, who, on finding that no education program existed to address the problem of sexual assault, developed a pilot program in 2006-7.

The program was found to be effective, and has even been used by NRL players in Queensland, with one club that trained in it last year now implementing it with players.

Alison did the course herself recently and was so impressed that she negotiated with Mullumbimby Shearwater Steiner School to offer the course to their students, with a view to spreading it to other local schools.

“There is a real need here,” said Alison, “where a lot of young kids are getting into really awful situations.

“They need the skills to be able to handle these situations themselves.”

The program has no explicit content, and is not about morals.

“It’s about how to work out what’s right for them in any given moment,” explained Alison.

The interactive content covers areas such as safety, how to communicate, how to have a back-up, and what to do if looking out for someone else.

“There are a lot of grey areas where young people misinterpret signals,” she said, “so the program is about addressing this ignorance, about giving skills to check that assumptions are correct.”

Alison is extremely enthusiastic about the program because she attended as a participant.

“We had to do it ourselves,” she said, “so even as adults we learnt something.”

Shearwater is providing the venue for the program, and limited places are available for the course which will run a few hours a week over six weeks in small groups, starting on March 30.

For further information contact Alison Rahn on 0432 599 812 or email:

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