Private school principals to meet with petition organiser over sex assault claims

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The principals of 10 eastern suburbs private schools will meet with activist Chanel Contos on Tuesday night to address sexual assault claims that have affected hundreds of their former students.

Fifteen private school alumni associations have also scheduled a group workshop with Ms Contos this week. They include the Old Boys unions from the Committee of Associated Schools (CAS) and Great Public Schools of New South Wales (GPS), such as Saint Ignatius’ College Riverview, Shore School, The King’s School and St Joseph’s College Hunters Hill, as well as some alumni groups from independent girls schools including Wenona, Queenwood and Loreto Kirribilli.

The Australian Human Rights Commission has invited representatives from the independent, Catholic and public school sectors to discuss system-wide responses to the problem of teenage sexual assault later this month, while hundreds of private school heads will meet with NSW Police sex crimes squad boss Stacey Maloney on Friday.

Ms Contos said she would be raising issues such as rape culture, victim blaming, sexual coercion and “slut shaming” at the discussions with principals and alumni groups, after a petition she started gathered more than 20,000 signatures calling for better sex and consent education in schools.

Labor MP Rose Jackson told a budget estimates hearing on Tuesday that Ms Contos’ petition had been “flooded” with stories showing current measures were not adequate.

“Young people in this state are crying out for better and more adequately funded sexual consent education in our schools,” she said.

NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman said the government’s domestic violence and sexual assault prevention strategies were up for renewal this year, and that education in schools was central to primary prevention.

Chief executive of the Association of Independent Schools NSW, Dr Geoff Newcombe, said he first discussed Ms Contos’ petition with Detective Superintendent Maloney last Thursday.