The Palaszczuk Government has delivered an updated and upgraded suite of resources for the delivery of respectful relationships education in Queensland schools, including a public online hub for families and students.
New and strengthened information on concepts like consent education, reporting of sexual assault, ethical decision-making, coercive control, forms of abuse and drivers of gender-based violence have been incorporated into the new Respect program.
The Respect program will support teachers with the resources they need to provide comprehensive, age-appropriate respectful relationships education, with a $15.5 million investment in professional development and specialist advisors.
Education Minister Grace Grace said the Respect program builds on the existing Queensland Respectful Relationships Education program introduced in 2017 in response to the recommendations from the landmark Not Now, Not Ever report from Dame Quentin Bryce into domestic and family violence.
“Queensland has led the nation when it comes to respectful relationships education,” Ms Grace said.
“In March 2021 I instigated a comprehensive review to make sure we were delivering the best age-appropriate resources and materials to our schools.
“We consulted more than 180 stakeholders including subject matter experts, parents, teachers, principals, and most importantly, students themselves.
“Students told us they wanted to talk about consent in a direct and mature way – no euphemisms or gimmicks – and they wanted to be engaged in discussions that would help them respond to real-life issues.”
Earlier this year, education ministers from across Australia announced that consent education would be mandatory in the national curriculum from 2023.
“Queensland’s updated Respect materials are now available online in a Respectful Relationships Education hub, which also includes publicly available resources for parents and high school students,” Ms Grace.
“The Respect materials will be available for all schools – state, Catholic and independent.
“Teachers may choose to use all or some of the resources in the Respect program, depending on their needs.
“All schools are different and school communities are best placed to decide their approach to delivering respectful relationships education. The Respect program is there to guide them.
“We want to support teachers and schools in delivering this as effectively as possible.
“The $15.5 million announced in this year’s budget will support eight principal advisor roles, one in each region and one in central office, and fund professional development time for teachers away from the classroom.
“The advisors, who have now been appointed and completed their inductions, will provide tailored professional development for our state schools and teachers to ensure they are prepared to deliver what are at times challenging and sensitive topics.
“Every Queensland state school will be able to provide teachers and staff with time to access appropriate professional development and curriculum planning.”
Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman said the important initiative is part of the Palaszczuk Government’s response to the Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce.
“The respectful relationships education initiative is critical, as we strive to help students build safe, supportive, and respectful relationships,” Ms Fentiman said.
“Teaching positive behaviours and skills from a young age will assist with combatting issues such as gender inequality and family and domestic violence.
“This is another example of the Palaszczuk Government delivering better services for Queensland.”
The Respect program is now available online for teachers for professional development and training in Term 4, before incorporation of the materials into classroom learning in 2023.