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How to talk to your kids about...Sex, with Dr Jacqi Hendriks PhD

Tuesday, 20 Dec 2022

Episode snapshot

In this episode, Dr. Tess Opie from inyourskin interviews Dr Jacqui Hendriks PhD from Curtin University about what the research is telling us regarding the perception of parents in Relationships and Sexuality education at schools, and what their main concerns are.

This is episode 3 of a 4-part series dedicated to sexual health for tweens and teens. This series is for all the parents, carers and important people in young people’s lives that want to get some answers to all of those tricky questions we have around:

  • What’s happening in their world?
  • Top tips on what to watch out for.
  • What the research is telling us is actually going on.

Who is Dr Jacqui Hendriks?

Throughout my entire career, I have been strongly focused on the health (and in particular the sexual health) of adolescents and young people”

Dr Jacqui Hendriks is affiliated with the Collaboration for Evidence, Research and Impact in Public Health in the School of Public Health at Curtin University. For the past 15 years, Jacqui has worked in research, for various departments at both the University of Western Australia and Curtin University. She currently lectures in the Sexology Program at Curtin University, supervises PhD and Masters students and is involved in various research projects. Jacqui has a strong background and interest in sexual health as it applies to young people and the various groups who support them, such as families, schools and health services.

Jacqui currently manages the Curtin University RSE Project, which seeks to train and support educators to deliver school-based relationships and sexuality education.

Special Guest and interviewer: Dr Tess Opie – inyourskin

Dr Tessa Opie is the founder and director of inyourskin, which delivers Relationships and Sexuality Education to schools, sporting clubs and other organisations across Australia and New Zealand. Her approach is sex-positive, evidence-based, and harm reduction focused.

Main topics of this episode:

In this episode, Tess and Jacqui discuss some interesting findings from a national online survey conducted by Dr Jacqui Hendriks asking parents with children in primary or secondary school about their support for relationship and sexuality education (RSE) in schools, their main concerns and reservations.

  • Overwhelmingly, 90% of parents were supportive of RSE being taught in schools and the level of support for 40 specific RSE topics exceeded 95%.
  • Some parents had reservations about certain RSE topics, such as gender diversity, sexual orientation, sexual pleasure, and masturbation, but even for these issues, the majority of parents were supportive.
  • To address concerns of reluctant parents and caregivers, schools can show them the RSE curriculum materials and have a frank conversation about what topics will be covered, which can alleviate anxiety and equip parents to continue the conversation at home.