The Risks to Children from Safe Schools

Professor Patrick Parkinson addresses the Safe Schools program at the Religious Freedom in an Age of Equality Conference held in Melbourne on 23 September 2016.

Listen to his talk here

  • The Safe Schools program claims to be based upon research, and various statistics are cited in its publications. Those statistics bear little relationship to any reliable scientific evidence.
  • While some adolescents who identify as same-sex attracted will go on to have a same-sex orientation in adulthood, a lot of girls in particular go on to lead mainly heterosexual lives. This needs to be explained to young people as well.
  • Most children and young people who experience gender dysphoria (i.e. think they are ‘transgender’) are able to resolve these feelings with therapeutic assistance and live healthy adult lives, accepting the gender of their birth.
  • Conversely, gender reassignment surgery involves the loss of genitalia and reproductive capacity and does not resolve the distress of some people with gender dysphoria
  • Encouraging children and young people to think that their gender is what they believe it to be puts them at great risk of harm. Instead, they need to be offered treatment and guidance to resolve their feelings of gender confusion.  
  • As a society, we need a serious conversation involving paediatricians, child psychiatrists and other professionals about how to assist children who experience gender dysphoria and about what it is responsible to tell children and young people in schools.

The full research paper can be accessed here


Patrick Parkinson is a Professor at the TC Beirne School of Law. Professor Parkinson was Dean of Law at the TC Beirne School of Law from 2018 - 2021. He is a specialist in family law, child protection, law and religion and the law of equity and trusts.He was President of the International Society of Family Law from 2011-14. Professor Parkinson is also well-known for his community work concerning child protection. He has been a member of the NSW Child Protection Council, and was Chairperson of a major review of the state law concerning child protection which led to the enactment of the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998.