Playlist teacher guide - Consent, alcohol & drugs

Playlist information

Playlist summary

The Consent, Alcohol & Drugs playlist explores how alcohol and other drugs can impair people's ability to give and gain consent. Drinking or intoxication may be an accepted part of society, but it can complicate our relationships, intimate moments, and decisions regarding sex. This playlist informs students about risks and the importance of checking in, communicating, looking after friends, as well as keeping behaviours legal and respectful.

Playlist purpose

The content of the playlist supports students to:

  • Explore the effects alcohol can have on our decision-making capabilities and the impact these effects can have on our ability to give and gain consent.
  • Examine practical tips on how to act in intimate situations when alcohol is involved.
  • Explore realistic strategies to ensure they maintain their personal safety while in social situations when alcohol and sex might be involved.

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Learning objectives

  • Know the laws related to consent in relation to physically intimate encounters and online behaviours such as sharing of images and where to seek accurate information, advice and support.
  • Understand that consent is a complex area and it is each individual’s responsibility within the situation to ensure they are being clear about whether they are giving and receiving consent from the others involved.
  • Propose practical and realistic ways to behave ethically in relationships to ensure all encounters are consensual.
  • Identify cues in real-life situations and practical and realistic ways to communicate when consent is and isn't being given.
  • Identify practical ways that a bystander can intervene if they are concerned about whether a situation is consensual or not.

Key messages

  • You need to be 18 years or older to drink alcohol.
  • There are strict laws around who can give consent and how consent is given and it is an individual’s responsibility to ensure they have full consent.
  • If someone is too intoxicated or affected by other substances to drive, then they are unable to give or gain consent.
  • If a person says ‘yes’ but they were too frightened to say no, then it is not consent.
  • When dealing with situations or issues about consent it’s always important to double check that you are reading it right.
  • Having the skills to understand, give and receive consent can help people to have safe and respectful relationships.

Year level(s) appropriate for

Year 10, Year 11, Year 12

Australian curriculum links

Propose, practise and evaluate responses in situations where external influences may impact on their ability to make healthy and safe choices.

Plan, rehearse and evaluate options (including CPR and first aid) for managing situations where their own or others’ health, safety and wellbeing may be at short or long-term risk.

Media items

Society, alcohol and drugs

Type: Page.

Duration: 4 minutes.

Source: The Good Society.

Summary: Socialising is an important part of our culture. In many social situations, it’s expected that alcohol will be present and consumed. But despite media messaging, consuming alcohol or drugs impacts our decision-making ability and can influence how we approach dating and managing consent.

Survey questions:

  1. Question number 1. Do you think there are mixed messages in society about alcohol use amongst young people? Answers
    1. a.Yes
    2. b.No
    3. c.Maybe
    Discussion points:

    Drinking alcohol in Australia is portrayed in the media as being very common, particularly for young people. However, the latest research suggests that portrayals in the media of alcohol use may not reflect what is actually happening in reality. The National Drug and Alcohol Survey (2016) found that the proportion of teenagers abstaining from alcohol increased from 72% in 2013 to 82% in 2016. This study also found that 18-24 year-olds have reduced their consumption of alcohol with only 18.5% exceeding the recommended two standard drinks on any day (compared to 31% in 2010).

    To unpack these concepts further, discuss the following questions:

    • What are some of the different messages that you hear in the media related to alcohol and other drugs?
    • Who are the key “authors” of these messages?
    • Who are the key audience targeted by these messages?
    • What do they potentially gain from spreading these messages?
    • What are some of the things that need to be considered when deciding whether to use alcohol and other drugs?

Mixing consent, alcohol and drugs

Type: Page.

Duration: 3 minutes.

Source: The Good Society.

Summary: When it comes to sex and gaining and giving consent, understanding how alcohol and drugs influence our perceptions of reality is critical. It’s important to continue to check in with your partner to ensure they are fully able to communicate their decisions around sex and consent.

Survey questions:

  1. Question number 1. Would a couple of standard drinks impair someone’s ability to give or gain consent to sex? Answers
    1. a.Yes
    2. b.No
    3. c.Maybe
    Discussion points:

    Alcohol affects different people in different ways. The number of drinks it can take to impair a person’s judgement can be influenced by factors, such as whether they have eaten, body size and shape, type of alcohol, mental state, what it is mixed with, and/or other drug use. If you or the person you are with have been drinking it is even more important to be clear and certain when giving or gaining consent.

    To unpack these concepts further, discuss the following questions:

    • What questions could you ask to make sure that you have consent for sex?
    • How can you check-in with your partner about whether you still have consent without breaking the mood?
    • How can you make sure you are clear about what you want if you have been drinking?
    • How can you look out for friends who have been drinking and who might not be sure about what they want?

Scenario: Hooking up 1

Type: Page.

Duration: 2 minutes.

Source: The Good Society.

Summary: A couple meet on a dating app and have to navigate sex and consent under the influence of alcohol.

Survey questions:

  1. Question number 1. Do you think this is a realistic ending to this scenario? Answers
    1. a.Yes
    2. b.No
    3. c.Maybe
    Discussion points:

    This scenario portrays a respectful relationship between Mark and Elise. Mark values the relationship he has with Elise and respects Elise as a person and doesn’t want to take advantage of her. In similar scenarios, some people may make the assumption that because Elise was into Mark before he went to the bathroom then consent had already been given. It is always important to remember that consent cannot be given by somebody who is drunk, so Mark’s response when he finds Elise sleeping is exactly what should happen.

    To unpack this scenario further, discuss the following questions:

    • What signs did Mark pick up on to make the decision that Elise was too drunk to have sex?
    • What other things might have helped Mark determine that tonight wouldn’t be the night to have sex with Elise? (both had drunk alcohol)
    • How do you think Elise might have felt in the morning if Mark had decided to have sex with her even though she was too drunk to consent?
    • How would Mark have felt if he’d decided to go ahead and have sex with Elise when he got back from the bathroom?

Scenario: Hooking up 2

Type: Page.

Duration: 2 minutes.

Source: The Good Society.

Summary: A couple meet on a dating app and have to navigate sex and consent under the influence of alcohol. One bad decision has the power to change both their lives for years to come.

Survey questions:

  1. Question number 1. Do you think the response on social media is realistic of people’s reactions to this sort of scenario? Answers
    1. a.Yes
    2. b.No
    3. c.Maybe
    Discussion points:

    When it comes to people’s reactions to scenarios that involve sexual activity there is often a double standard used to judge males and females. Women tend to be judged by society much more harshly than men for engaging in the same behaviours, especially when those behaviours involve casual sex or sex with a number of partners. This double standard is often what fuels people’s reactions  to situations of non-consensual sex. This double standard makes no sense yet it still drives much of the victim blaming that occurs in relation to non-consensual sexual encounters.

    To unpack this concept further, discuss the following questions:

    • What attitudes and beliefs drive the double standard that exists between males and females?
    • As a society, how could we challenge the double standard in order to prevent victim-blaming attitudes?

Let’s talk: Alcohol and sexual assault

Type: Video.

Duration: 4 minutes.

Source: uAlbertaDoS. ()

Summary: Heads up: This resource discusses coercive behaviours, sexual assault and rape which may be distressing for some people. When it comes to talking about incidents of sexual assault, the focus is often on whether or not the victim had been drinking. Whether reported in the news or discussed on social media, there’s a real stigma attached to drinking and sexual assault.

Survey questions:

  1. Question number 1. Do you think the myths that encourage victim blaming and make excuses for perpetrators are prevalent in your community? Answers
    1. a.Yes
    2. b.No
    3. c.Maybe
    Discussion points:

    There are so many misconceptions about alcohol and sexual assault and our society typically focuses on whether or not victims were drinking. Even though we might not consciously think about these myths very much, buying into them and perpetuating them through our reactions on social media and our conversations about incidents can have a very real negative impact on the victim. Many victims are fearful of coming forward and reporting assaults for fear of being judged or because they are ashamed about what has happened to them.

    To further unpack this concept, discuss these questions:

    • What other impacts might victim blaming have on the victim?
    • How might these myths influence the behaviour of bystanders who are witness to these situations?
    • How as a community can we bust these myths to reduce victim blaming and to hold perpetrators accountable for their actions?

Stepping in and providing support

Type: Page.

Duration: 3 minutes.

Source: The Good Society.

Summary: When a person is affected by alcohol or drugs, there are often opportunities to intervene and prevent sexual assault from occurring. And if a friend confides in you about being assaulted, it’s important that you believe them and try and find ways to support them.

Survey questions:

  1. Question number 1. Would you feel comfortable being able to support a friend who has been sexually assaulted? Answers
    1. a.Yes
    2. b.No
    3. c.Maybe
    Discussion points:

    Often in the lead up to a sexual assault or non-consensual sex there are opportunities where bystanders could have intervened to prevent it. Bystanders may witness someone who is drunk being lead out of a club or up to a bedroom by someone who is sober. Others may witness someone spiking another person’s drink, or overhear a conversation between two people that is aggressive or threatening in nature. Bystanders can play an important role in intervening in these situations and making it clear to the parties that what is happening is not ok.

    Sometimes though situations will happen away from others and there won’t be an opportunity for you to step in to prevent it. If a friend confides in you about being assaulted it is really important that you believe them and don’t blame them.

    To further unpack these concepts, discuss the following questions:

    • What signs can you look for if you suspect someone might be using alcohol as a weapon?
    • How could you support a friend who has experienced non-consensual sex either as a victim or as a perpetrator?
    • How could you challenge victim blaming amongst your peer group and wider community?
    • What support services exist in your local area that you could connect a friend to if they have been assaulted?

How to Stop Victim Blaming | Decoded | MTV

Type: Video.

Duration: 4 minutes.

Source: MTV decoded. ()

Summary: This four-minute YouTube video pinpoints the societal norm whereby if an assault happens to someone, it's somehow their fault. This is known as victim blaming - blaming the victim for someone else's crime, and it happens a lot to victims of sexual assault. New research outlined in this video suggests there can be a simple way to reduce society's habit of victim blaming.

Survey questions:

  1. Question number 1. Have you ever heard someone blaming the victim for acts that have been perpetrated on them? Answers
    1. a.Yes
    2. b.No
    3. c.Maybe
  2. Question number 2. Have you ever victim-blamed someone for a situation that was out of their control? Answers
    1. a.Yes
    2. b.No
    3. c.Maybe
    Discussion points:

    Blaming victims for violence inflicted upon them is a very common reality in media reporting and in everyday conversations about incidents that occur. But the reality is that wearing short skirts doesn’t cause violence, walking home alone at night wearing headphones doesn’t cause violence and drinking alcohol does not cause violence. The sole cause of violence is the perpetrator, and it is the perpetrator who must be held accountable for their actions. So often this isn’t the case and this attitude of victim blaming condones and minimises the behaviour of the perpetrator. By changing the way we talk about violence and focusing our attention on the behaviour of the perpetrator rather than the victim we can begin to challenge the attitudes that exist to help perpetuate violence against women.  To build on these concepts further, explore recent media coverage of acts of violence against women and their children and discuss the following questions:

    • How is the perpetrator portrayed in the reporting?
    • How is the victim/s portrayed in the reporting?
    • What is proposed as the cause of the violence?
    • How could this story be re-written to contextualise the situations more accurately and ensure the cause of the violence is the focus of the report?

Consent, alcohol & drugs - wrap-up

Type: Page.

Duration: 2 minutes.

Source: The Good Society.

Summary: A quick wrap-up of the Consent, alcohol & drugs playlist.

Activities and extras

The conversations generated through engaging with this playlist could be built upon and reinforced by exploring a range of fictitious scenarios and proposing different strategies, conversations and questions that can be asked to determine whether consent can be legally given and if it is enthusiastic.

Other playlists created by The Good Society that will help reinforce these concepts and build greater understanding of the topic area include: