School children teasing a childThe Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) is calling on schools, educators, students and governments to join together to put the issue of homophobia in schools on the national agenda.

Registrations are now open for the inaugural National Safe Schools Symposium, run by FYA in partnership with Safe Schools Coalition Victoria (SSCV).

Research by the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society at La Trobe University has shown that 75 per cent of young people who are attracted to others of their own sex or who are unsure of their sexual attraction report experiencing some sort of homophobic abuse – and that 80 per cent of this abuse occurred at school.

“The volume of sex and gender diverse and same-sex attracted young people who report experiencing homophobic abuse at school is unacceptable,” said Jan Owen AM, CEO of FYA. “We want to see every school in this country represented at the Symposium – it’s time to demonstrate a national commitment to creating the safe and inspiring environments in which all young people deserve to learn.”

The National Safe Schools Symposium will expose attendees to best practices and innovative ideas for challenging homophobia and transphobia to create safe and inclusive school environments.

Expert presentations, panel discussions and workshops will review relevant research and its implications for Australian schools, showcase current initiatives and discuss opportunities for sharing resources nationally.

The Symposium will also feature opportunities for young people to come together support each other, share their own work in this area and learn how to implement social change in their communities.