A BENDIGO sex educator has labelled federal government content aimed at teaching consent and safe sex to school-aged children as confusing and lacking in diversity.
The federal government's Respect Matters campaign was met with heavy criticism after launching this week.
The government has since removed two videos from its new online resource after receiving backlash and scrutiny over its messaging.
Bendigo based sexologist, counsellor and sex educator Dr Linda Kirkman said the content was confusing, such as in one video called Moving the Line.
The video shows a boy and girl drinking milkshakes, before the girl smears the milkshake on the boy's face.
"This is what we call moving the line," the video's narrator says.
"When a person imposes their will on you, it's as if they were moving the 'yes' line over the 'maybe zone' or the end zone, ignoring your rich inner world and violating your individual freedoms and rights.
"Moving the line is at least disrespectful and at worst abusive."
Dr Kirkman said she couldn't bear to watch the whole video.
"The milkshake example shows asking and breaching consent," she said. "If they wanted to generalise how consent applies, they could have communicated that clearer.
"I don't think there is any understanding of the clear sexual health promotion or health communication skills.
"I don't think this government has very good health promotion and communication on-board."
Another video in the campaign includes a man with a spear gun convincing a woman to go for a swim but she is afraid of sharks.
The video is meant to represent unsafe sex.
Dr Kirkman said not using clear and direct language when referring to sexual matters could be harmful.
She said using the words "sex" and "consent" in the same sentence was important to people of any age.
"Not everyone is going to understand a metaphor and it requires a little bit of intellectual sophistication to get what the metaphor is about and good health communication is about being clear," she said.
"Normalising sexually transmitted infections, sex or behaviours and using plain old English is really needed because so many people don't have the skills or the confidence to discuss matters about sexuality openly."
Dr Kirkman also worried about the lack of diversity in relationships.
"From looking at the year 11 and year 12 content, all the relationships were heterosexual, she said.
"This (content) is designed to support heterosexual relationships and it's important to include all couples to ensure people are not marginalised."
Bendigo Youth Council deputy mayor Ryan Peterson said the reception of the campaign showed a lot more needed to be done in teaching the importance of consent to young people.
"This does take a really good thought to do in a way that is sensitive to the matter itself and is actually effective in its approach and clearly this hasn't been the case here," he said.
"I would say a lot more thinking needs to be done around campaigns like these because this is an important topic."
Mr Peterson said the government might have missed the mark on the campaign.
"This seems to be the case, given how this was talked about on Twitter especially shows that maybe there needs to be more input by young people on these matters," he said.
"Especially where they can be involved."
Victoria's acting premier James Merlino slammed the campaign on Tuesday, describing it as confusing, cringe-worthy and terrible.
"I was pretty disappointed. It was confusing. It was cringe-worthy, it just did not hit the mark," he said.
"The feedback I've heard from students is they're confused about what it's even trying to say. It's a big fail and it's not a resource that I'll be recommending to Victorian schools."
Mr Merlino also singled out the Moving the Line video, and said he couldn't watch it to the end.
Respectful relationships education has been included in the Victorian school curriculum since 2016.
This month, components on consent became compulsory in all primary and secondary government schools.
Mr Merlino said the "nation-leading" program should be rolled out throughout the country.
In a statement to announce the Respect Matters program last week, federal education minister Alan Tudge said the new resources were developed in conjunction with Our Watch, the eSafety Commissioner, the Foundation for Young Australians and other groups.
But Our Watch and the Foundation for Young Australians told AAP they had not reviewed or endorsed any of the materials.
For confidential support and services around sexual assault, contact 1800 RESPECT online or by phone on 1800 737 732.
If you or someone you know needs help, contact Life Line on 13 11 14
- with AAP
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