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Safe Schools program vital to addressing suicide rate: AASW

Published: 18 March 2016

The Safe Schools program provides same-sex attracted students with an environment where they can feel safe, and has the potential to save lives, the Australian Association of Social Workers’ President, Professor Karen Healy AM, said today.

She is calling on the government to act in accordance with the findings of the Safe Schools review and support the program so that students can feel safe and thrive at school.

“Studies show that as many as 75 per cent of same-sex attracted students have been physically assaulted or verbally abused, the majority within the school community, and they are six times more likely to attempt suicide or self-harm,” said Professor Healy.

“Initiatives like the Safe Schools program are an important component of the government’s national mental health strategy in addressing the steep rise in the national suicide rate.”

Professor Healy said the Safe Schools review has reaffirmed the program’s value in creating more inclusive and supportive school environments for same-sex attracted young people and this reflects the experience of AASW members who work in schools.

The Australian Association of Social Workers represents over 9,000 professional social workers.

To organise an interview with Professor Karen Healy AM, please contact Emma Pegrum, Media and Marketing Manager, on 02 6199 5011.

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers