A programme that explores the blurred lines of consent and healthy relationships should definitely be rolled out nationwide, according to a Northland high school.
A major conclusion of the year-long investigation into the Roast Busters scandal found there needed to be more education for teenagers about consent, especially when alcohol was involved. The scandal was over a group of Auckland teenage boys bragging online about allegedly having sex with drunk, underage girls, some as young at 13. There was public outrage when no charges were brought against the teenagers.
Dargaville High School was the only school in the region, and one in only handful of others across New Zealand, that took part in the ACC pilot programme called "Mates and Dates" to raise awareness on the issues of consent and healthy relationships.
While Year 13 student Sara Coates thought she knew a lot of the information that was taught, she was not as sure about her peers. "A lot of people don't go for help when they need it," she said.
Year 13 Rose Sircombe said the Government needs to fund the programme in every school. "It was really helpful for us because we didn't realise there was actually so many resources out there," she said.
Of the group interviewed by the Northern Advocate, one student believed they had had their drink spiked while others knew of friends who had been taken advantage of while they were drunk.
The Roast Busters scandal was exactly why Mates and Dates was important, Sara said. She described the young men involved as "kind of pathetic".
Year 12 student Tai Parry heard about Roast Busters even before it hit the headlines. She was invited to the Facebook page by one of the young men involved.
The Dargaville High School students agreed that while there was handful of guys who did think using girls for sex was okay, it was unfair to tar all teenage boys with the same brush.
"There's a few out there that do think that but the guys in general don't think that," Sara said.
The school's guidance councillor Wendy Banton said Mates and Dates should be in every high school in New Zealand.
According to research referenced by ACC, one in five female and one in 10 male secondary school students report unwanted sexual contact or being made to do unwanted sexual things.
The programme was taught by specialised male and female facilitators and is being evaluated to assess its effectiveness.
The evaluation is expected later this month and ACC hoped that it can be turned into an ongoing programme.