Media Release
Thursday October 8th 2020
- More professional non-religious counsellors essential
- Absence of conversion practices bans exaccerbates the problem

LGBTIQ advocacy group, Just Equal, says more funding must go to professional, non-religious school counsellors, and has called for chaplains to be trained to affirm LGBTIQ students, following the Government's school chaplains' funding announcement in Tuesday's federal budget.

The National Schools Chaplaincy program will receive $61.4 million per year for the next three years despite the ratio of students to professionally-trained non-religious school counsellors being 1000 to 1 in some states (500 to 1 is recommended by professional bodies).

Spokesperson, Rodney Croome, said,

“Schools have a duty to support and protect all students, including LGBTIQ students who repeated studies show endure higher levels of stigma, discrimination, bullying, and early school leaving."

“Many students who want to talk privately about their sexuality or gender identity would avoid a chaplain, given historic atttiudes of the churches to LGBTIQ people, and there is also no assurance a chaplain would give appropriate counselling in these situations."

"We call on the state and federal governments to fund more professional, non-religious, school counsellors and to ensure all support staff, including chaplains, have the training they need to affirm LGBTIQ students."
"In Tasmania in 2014, a number of successful workshops training chaplains in LGBTIQ issues were conducted by Relationships Australia with the support of the Scripture Union."
"Initiatives like this must be upscaled to all chaplains in all states."
Mr Croome said the absence of bans on LGBTIQ conversion practices in most states made the situation worse.

“In most states there is little to prevent an untrained, unqualified, school chaplain encouraging an LGBTIQ student to consider informal conversion practices."
"While informal conversion practices remain legal it is all the more important that LGBTIQ students have the option of a professional, non-religious counsellor and that chaplains have training."
For a copy of this statement on the web, click here
For more information contact Rodney Croome on 0409 010 668.