The statistics in Australia regarding domestic and family violence against women are very alarming, with evidence showing that in many cases young children are witness to this violence. Research shows that education can play a powerful role in changing behaviour and culture for future generations. With this in mind, the Government has invested $21.8million over two years to roll out an important initiative known as Respectful Relationships across schools and early childhood services.
The Respectful Relationships initiative is a primary prevention program that tackles family violence through education. It involves building and promoting gender equity in relationships, challenging gender stereotypes, and supporting students to develop the pro-social behaviors that translate into equitable and courteous relationships.
Through the implementation of the Respectful Relationships education program, schools will give students opportunities for social and emotional learning in self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationships, ethics, values, social norms, stereotypes, human rights, risk and responsible decision-making.
There is a growing body of evidence to demonstrate that social and emotional learning of this nature leads to less aggressive and delinquent behaviour, reduced emotional distress, and improved social and emotional skills.
Kilvington Receives Grant as a Leading School
Respectful relationships are deeply aligned and embodied in Kilvington’s ethos, educational philosophy and whole school culture. As an illustration, when our Year 7 students were asked about what they thought a respectful relationship was, this is what they wrote:
‘A respectful relationship is where we respect each other fairly and treat others how we want to be treated. It isn’t about being greedy or selfish.’ Kevin Nguyen 7C
‘A respectful relationship is having the courage to accept difference.’ James Cooper 7C
‘Being respectful in relationships involves caring about others feelings and emotions.’ Sophie Gardiner 7C
As such, we are delighted to be selected by the Department of Education and Training as a Leading School to help roll out this initiative. We have been awarded a $20,000 grant to deliver this new curriculum across the School and help other schools develop their curriculums and build staff capacity in these areas.
Over the next 18 months, the Respectful Relationships grant will assist us to support the School’s Health curriculum from Prep – Year 10 as well as in Health and Human Development at VCE. Later on this year, we will hold a wider review that looks at bringing together our many strong programs to support the development of respectful relationships – whether in Health and PE, Sport, Pastoral Care or our Character Initiative.
As a Leading School, we have a unique opportunity to ensure that all we do reflects the importance of respectful relationships with staff, students and parents, and to provide leadership and support to other schools in our community.
The best relationships are respectful ones. By working together, we can create real and lasting change and help to address gender inequality and prevent family violence.