“Bill O’Chee, Brisbane father of school-aged children, is ‘outraged and disgusted’ – and rightly so,” FamilyVoice Australia research officer Ros Phillips said today.
“Bill’s article in yesterday’s Brisbane Times sounded the alarm about the federal government’s 'Safe Schools' programs – in particular, the Safe Schools Hub, but also the Safe Schools Coalition. Their websites and resources can link children to the Minus18 website – which also acts as an online dating service with the potential to attract predators.
“As Bill O’Chee points out, Minus18 – which says it is ‘Australia’s largest network for LGBT youth’ – asks users to register by answering questions such as age, sexual identity, ‘outness’, gender, location and preferences. They can then research profiles of other users and connect with them online.
“Carol Ronken of Bravehearts has warned that sex offenders can use the Minus18 website to target vulnerable youth.”
Ros Phillips said Minus18 is promoted on the website of the Safe Schools Coalition – now operating in 362 schools across Australia, funded by $8 million from the federal government. One example from the Safe Schools Coalition website is shown above.
“I have long been concerned about the misleading and dangerous messages promoted by the Safe Schools Coalition,” Ros Phillips said. “It purports to prevent bullying, but ignores the main victims (eg those with body shape or abilities different from the norm).
“Thousands of Australians have signed an open letter to the Prime Minister outlining the dangers of this program. We are calling on the federal government to defund it and divert taxpayers' money to proven programs like Choose Respect or CASSE Peaceful Schools.
“I'm sure like all of us, Tony Abbott and Christopher Pyne believe our school kids deserve protection from all types of bullying."
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