Romance and sex - ACC gets teens talking about relationships

Sexual violence is a taboo subject for most teenagers but a new ACC programme is aiming to break down the barriers.

A new programme aims to break down the barriers around talking about sexual violence to teenagers. Source: 1 NEWS

A pilot being trialled in nine schools nationwide is underway and having an effect as students learn about having relationships based on respect, negotiation and consent.

Most teens aren't keen to talk about romantic and sexual relationships but they are realising that sexual violence affects their lives.

It's estimated one in five teenage girls and one in 10 teenage boys experience unwanted sexual contact.

Many describe it as a traumatic experience and most tell no one.

"Those figures are obviously way too high, many of those people have trouble around relationships later in their lives too so we want to intervene early and stop that happening," ACC sexual violence prevention programme manager Sandra Dickson says.

Teens admit it's hard to open up and told ONE News that while they would like to "skip class" having the programme in their school raises awareness.

One student said the early weeks of a relationship can be a "walk in the park" while a few months later it's a "swim with the shark" and the programme helps them know "when to escape that scene".

ACC now has to decide if it will roll out the programme in full but say they would rather do prevention than pick up the pieces.