Gippsland students to learn about respectful relationships to end vicious family violence cycle

Gippsland students will learn about respectful relationships under a $21.8 million Andrew’s Government initiative derived from a royal commission of family violence recommendation.

The respectful relationships curriculum will provide a mandatory subject for primary and secondary school students in an effort to end the vicious cycle of family violence.

Eastern Member of Victoria, Harriet Shing, said this initiative is of great importance because education is the only proven way to end family violence.

“The evidence shows that education is the key to ending family violence and this initiative is another important step towards implementing all of the recommendations from the Royal Commission on Family Violence”, Ms Shing said.

Minister for Education, James Merlino, also whole heartedly supports Shing’s sentiment.

““All the evidence shows that education is the key to ending the vicious cycle of family violence, which is why teaching respectful relationships at school is so important.”

Lesson plans and activities will be orchestrated to help students learn and practice social skills and apply them in a positive way to learning, life and relationships.

The focus of the unit for primary school students will be treating everyone with respect and dignity, while the secondary years subject will expand upon this premise teaching students about the relationship between gender and power.

“This new subject is about teaching our kids to treat everyone with respect and dignity and highlights the intergenerational and cultural change required to end the scourge of family violence”, Ms Shing said.

The new curriculum has been developed following a trial of a whole-of-school approach to respectful relationships run in 19 Victorian schools by the Department of Education and Training and the anti-family violence organisation Our Watch.

Our Watch’s report found embedding the Respectful Relations education program in a school’s culture lead to clear improvements in student and staff knowledge, attitude and confidence in discussing issues of violence, equality and respectful relationships.

Minister for Education James Merlino and Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos joined family violence campaigner Rosie Batty at the Forum for the Role of Education in Preventing Family Violence to launch the curriculum last Monday.

The Andrew’s Government’s Respectful Relationships curriculum will begin term one of next year and 120 schools across Victoria plan to implement the program.


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