Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Respectful Relationships

Respectful Relationships PD

Ballarat Art Gallery


Nelly Thomas, Deb Ollis and DET personnel.

Started at 10:00 am

Welcome to country and introduction by Peter Deveraux 

$22 million investment into schools and early childhood settings. 

Domestic violence in Central Highlands is a serious issue. Family violence is often first seen in schools. Schools have a role in imparting social schools and values. In the long term as children work through this program in our schools they will exit able to change the culture of family violence.

Black Hill PS is a lead school.( $10000 funding)

Family violence can be solved. Research shows it can be reduced. Still a massive problem. Biggest contributor to ill health and premature death for women in Victoria.

Focus today is on prevention.

Whole of school approach to this issues- staff, parents and children- community approach

Prevention: challenge rigid gender roles,( unequal treatment of women)  challenging violence supporting attitudes! Data shows that young people believe that 25 % of men should be in be in control in relationships. Excellent data is available for use. ( 1800737732 or 100RESPECT can be contacted for data) 

Preventing violence against women

Womens health Grampians WHG

$1billion dedicated in the last budget to violence against women.


discussion about stages of prevention: tertiary- police, secondary-CAFS, primary- WHG ( public health approach) 

Women further out of Melbourne have a greater chance of suffering violence.

Violence against women is about power and control.Intimate partner violence ( domestic )Is the major form of violence.( family violence includes all members of the family.) 

Intimate violence is the lead factor in contributing to the disease burden of women

59% of women hospitalised by bodily force used against a women.


Narrative about women very negative.Gender inequality prevalent in Australia.                                

(Pay gap, senior roles, parliamentary representation) one women a week dies from family violence.

Gender identities more than male and female.

Change learnt behaviours ( gender inequality ) early .

4 risk factors that create a culture if violence

  • Attitudes- victim blaming: justifying violence 
  • Excusing violence-trivialising and excusing
  • Men's control - increase women's agency
  • Rigid stereotypes-  rigid constructions of femininity and masculinity
  • Disrespect- promoting respectful relationships


Looking at the school through a gender lens- review programs, policies, displays 

Hierarchy of change

  1. Are genders not considered at all at school?- gender exploitative events, images and processes in the school.
  2. Gender accomodating 
  3. Gender transformative - developing strategies in the school to challenge sexism , discrimination and violence.

Professor Debbie Ollis ( Deakin University)

Discussed history and research for cultural change

Royal Commission into Family Violence 2016 recommended that respectful relationship education be taught in schools starting in 2017. Nothing new about these issues. We were shown newspaper clippings and quotes from position papers and reports in the 90s . Materials - Gender and Violence Program were sent to schools in the 90s but not used effectively in schools.

Issue world wide and all demographics. Online challengers are the new issues to be addressed today that weren't there 20-40 years ago and needs to be addressed.

Today's challenges include: government investment, teachers acknowledging sexuality education, education in the early years, resistance from the usual suspects like Bolt and Donnelly and threats from reinventing the wheel.

Why schools? ( PREiS) 

Schools are good at dealing with a whole school approach ( support for staff and students , leadership, changing cultures etc.) children have an interest, schools can be sites of inequality, 

A lot of work to be done in primary schools. ( pilot only involved secondary schools, need to ensure it is embedded) Data from the pilot project showed a marked improvement in student knowledge and attitudes and developed more sophisticated responses to the issues.

Key findings from the pilot

  • Greater respect flowed to female teachers
  • Curriculum has to be the entry point
  • Clear approach to student Well being find it easy to slot this work in
  • 3-5 years to implement in schools. 
  • Time is an issue
  • Gender audits needed. Some schools not doing as well as they thought.
  • PD crucial.
  • Facts can be confronting.
  • Parent education needed
  • Supplementary resources needed.( resources need to be up to date)
  • Primary resources focussing on gender

Cultural changes led to 

  • More respect for girls/ women
  • Development of gender lens
  • More inclusiveness - uniforms

Critical factors

  • Staff commitment/leadership on board
  • A curriculum resource needed
  • Time needed /funding
  • Teacher needed
  • An action plan needed. Accountability ( Schools will be accountable )
  • Good models.
  • Back up for vulnerable kids
  • PD required


  • Avoid 'groundhog day'
  • Resistance 
  • Need continued investment
  • Rural schools with smaller communities have unique challenges
  • Investing in teachers 
  • Do the work in universities.

Back at school

  • How will my background reflect on my teaching?
  • Revise how I respond to children in need. Revise our policy and incorporate Child Safety policies more in the curriculum
  • More information on newsletters 
  • Improve media literacy 
  • Challenge sexism gender inequity in the school
  • Investigate the availability of department professional development on offer.

Afternoon session

Resilience Rights and Respectful Relationships

Kate Souter ( Respectful relationships liaison officer in the Region and Che Vincent is the project leader)

Government commitment in this is recommendation 189 of the Royal Commission into Family Violence. ( Mandatory in state schools in 5 years) DET want a whole of schools approach.

Schools will act as a community hub as well as an education source.

A resource kit is going out to Lead schools and partner schools will get them in term 3. A resource kit is also coming out. It is about curriculum but also looking at gender equity in the work place. (Teaching and learning resources available via FUSE online P-12)

VCAA Trainer also available.

Glen Park is a partner school. There will be 120 Lead schools. (19th June training from VCAA in Ballarat) These will work as a community of practice.

Lead school's will be able to mentor partner schools.

Nelly introduced service representatives in a panel.( Berry Street, CAFS Etc) when the program rolls out more disclosures can occur. No wrong-service to contact. Some confusion about who best to contact and frustration about lack of resources.

We had a performance from the Creative Learning Team  from Ballarat Community Health. They put on performance in schools about the bystander effect, respect and finished at 3:30.



No comments:

Post a Comment