Teaching Australian students that Respect Matters

New online resources are now available to help school students learn about safe, healthy and respectful relationships, including issues around consent and peer pressure.

More than 350 videos, digital stories, podcasts and other materials are available free to teachers, students and families through The Good Society website, as part of the Respect Matters program.

The Respect Matters program has been developed in conjunction with the eSafety Commissioner and the Foundation for Young Australians, as well as parent, community and principals’ groups.

Resources have been developed for students from Foundation to Year 12 and content is aligned with the current Australian Curriculum, which was agreed by all states and territories in 2015. The Australian Curriculum is currently under review and a public consultation period will open on 29 April.

  • Foundation to year 6 focuses on building healthy relationships and friendships, including content on empathy, peer pressure, interacting respectfully, and challenging discriminatory behaviour. It also provides the building blocks for later content.
  • Years 7 to 9 focuses on moving from pre-teen to adolescence and looks at relationships and power, and abuse. There is content in this age section that specifically deals with abuse and violence against women.
  • Years 10 to 12 builds on earlier topics and also includes materials on intimate relationships, sexting, sexual consent and decision making.

Teachers and parents will be able to select from the full range of learning content and make decisions about what materials they use in their classrooms to ensure it reflects the values of their school and their community.

The Respect Matters program also provides support and professional learning modules for teachers and pre-service teachers.

Minister for Education and Youth Alan Tudge said education was important in building and maintaining respectful relationships from a young age.

“The most important people in teaching kids about respect and relationships are parents, but schools can also play a vital role,” Minister Tudge said.

“These materials will provide additional support to better educate young Australians on these issues and have been designed to complement programs already being offered by states and territories.

“I will be discussing these matters further with my state and territory counterparts when we meet later this month.”

Minister for Women’s Safety Anne Ruston said early intervention and education were key to achieving our goal of a future without domestic violence.

“We need to work on preventing violence before it begins and that is where Respect Matters, along with other initiatives like our Stop it at the Start campaign, are working to ensure the next generation of Australians grow up in a country where women and children can live free of violence,” Minister Ruston said.

“School years are crucial in a child’s development and we want to guarantee that whether it be at home, at school or even playing weekend sport, that kids and their parents have been informed about what is respectful behaviour and what is not.”

The Australian Government has invested $7.8 million in the Respect Matters program to support and promote positive attitudes, behaviours and equality in schools to help prevent domestic, family, and sexual violence.

The commitment is part of a significant and broad-reaching package of initiatives under the Fourth Action Plan of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022.

Additional resources from the Respect Matters program including professional learning modules for educators are available at https://studentwellbeinghub.edu.au/.

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