Deanne is a leading Australian sexuality educator, researcher, speaker, author and ultimate keeper of a straight face when dispelling children's misconceptions about bodies and baby making.*
In the Academy Awards of sexuality education, Deanne wants students, parents, carers and teachers to take centre stage (she is happy to take the 'Best Supporting Role' statuette!)
She approaches this by offering factual information that is free of judgement, shame or shock tactics. Deanne encourages people to identify their sexuality and relationship values and offers tools to help them live in a way that is congruent with those values.
- "No, you won't get pregnant if you eat apple seeds" (Grade 2)
- "Mothers don't vomit their babies up" (Grade 3)
- "It's a nice idea to invent waterproof pads for swimming but it has an inherent design flaw" (Grade 5)
- "And thanks for letting me know that some people use vibrators for stress relief" (Grade 6)
Kids, sex and the Internet
While working in traditional sexuality education, Deanne realised that there was an urgent and growing need to discuss how children and teens interact with digital sexual content. She spent a year immersed in the latest international research on cyber safety, pornography, social media and how young people use the Internet to explore and express their emerging sexuality.
Deanne then developed a blueprint for teaching sexual cyber safety and media literacy to young people and their teachers, parents and carers. She launched the education model at the Sexual Cultures 2 conference at the University of Sunderland, London in April 2015. For more information, click here.
As a child and youth advocate, Deanne wants to ensure that all children have the opportunity to grow into an adulthood of healthy sexuality.
This begins in early childhood with Body Safety (protective behaviours) education where children learn bodily autonomy, assertive communication and to recognise and discuss emotions.
Body Safety education also means empowering communities to talk about child sexual abuse and body safety.
Respect and consent
Deanne works with peak body organisations to ensure that her presentations reflect best practices around discussing gender equality in relationships.
Sex, sexuality and gender diversity
Deanne works with LGBTIQ organisations locally and throughout Australia to ensure that students who are LGBTIQ have access to sexuality education that accurately reflects their lived experience and improves their sexual health outcomes.
Research and publications
Deanne produced two reports in 2015 on the teaching of sexuality and relationships in Special Religious Education (SRE) in New South Wales (NSW). Her work was supported by leading health professionals and academics. Deanne found that the texts examined were detrimental to the sexual and mental health outcomes of young people.
As a consequence those texts are no longer available to use in NSW classrooms and SRE providers are conducting a complete review of their programs to ensure more positive instruction for Christian students.
Deanne has authored several articles and one book. She is currently working on two books about sexuality - one is for parents, based on the Getting Real! program and the other is for kids of all genders experiencing puberty.