The Respectful Relationships Teaching Support Program will be piloted in 10 schools as a key primary prevention initiative of the McGowan Government’s commitment to addressing Western Australia’s high rates of family and domestic violence.
The 10 schools that have volunteered to pilot the program commenced training last week will receive ongoing support to develop a whole-of-school plan to improve understanding of family and domestic violence, and deliver the school’s existing curriculum.
The program will be tailored to each individual school’s context, and schools will determine their own requirements based on their needs.
It will be delivered by White Ribbon Australia, recognised as an expert in the field of family and domestic violence prevention education.
A unique component of the program is White Ribbon Australia’s partnership with local domestic violence organisation, Starick Services. Starick will connect with schools to link them to appropriate family and domestic violence support services.
The Respectful Relationships Teaching Support Program is based on White Ribbon Australia’s successful, evidence-based program, Breaking the Silence, and will be tailored for Western Australian schools.
Two evaluations of the national Breaking the Silence program have been conducted and found the program was successful in introducing a culture of respect to schools, and had helped change behaviours of staff and students.
An independent evaluation of the Western Australian program will be undertaken to ensure it is meeting the needs of WA schools.
Western Australia has the nation’s second highest rate of reported physical and sexual violence perpetrated against women. Family and Domestic Violence Response Teams located throughout the State dealt with around 50,000 incidents, in the last financial year, with at least half of those incidents estimated to have involved children.
The McGowan Government’s stopping family and domestic violence policy comprises 22 initiatives that provide a comprehensive approach across victim safety, perpetrator accountability, a responsive justice system, and prevention and early intervention.
As stated by Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence Minister Simone McGurk:
“As WA’s first Minister for Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence, I’m proud the McGowan Government is taking the issue of family and domestic violence seriously.
“As a community, we need to promote healthy and respectful relationships and reinforce the message that violence is never OK.
“The Respectful Relationships Teaching Support Program is a voluntary program providing teachers with evidence-based skills to talk with students about mutually respectful relationships, and reinforce the positive relationships most children see at home.
“This is about creating generational change to break the cycle of violence and stopping violence before it occurs.”