GALLERY: Police work with schools

POLICE are working with high schools to ensure young people feel they can approach members of the force with concerns about sexual violence and consent. 

Bendigo Crime Prevention Officer Marg Fitzgerald, who was invited to speak at Bendigo Senior Secondary School's sexual health awareness day, said police were seeking to make sure young people were informed on the law. 

"We also want young people to feel comfortable enough to approach police if they have concerns," she said. 

"They might watch TV shows and talk among themselves about what the law is.

"But we want young people to feel like they can come to us with questions about consent, and we want them to be informed on the law."

Leading Senior Constable Fitzgerald said police also wanted young people to know about the dangers of sexting. 

"The age of consent is 16," she said. 

"So if a 15-year-old girl sent an explicit picture to her boyfriend who is also 15 and that photo is sent on to more people, then they can both face charges of child pornography

"That can be traumatic, and in some cases can lead to suicide."

Leading Senior Constable Fitzgerald said police were also looking to maintain strong relationships between other agencies. 

Other organisations at the sexual health awareness day on Wednesday were the Centre Against Sexual Assault, Youth Empowerment against HIV/AIDS, Bendigo Community Health and the Country Awareness Network. 

Country Awareness Network community support worker Paula McCluskey said it was vital to be connect with young people. 

"We speak at every school in Bendigo," she said. 

"It's terrific being able to connect with young people.

"We know homophobia exists and we want young queer people to know about the support networks available."

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