Why have a respectful relationships program in your school?

Statistics in Australia show that:

  • 1 in 4 young women and 1 in 7 young men have experienced sexual violence before they are 18. This increases to 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men over a lifetime.

  • 1 in 3 women experience family violence in Australia

  • Family violence is the leading contributor to death, disability, illness and injury for Australian women aged 15-44.

  • 1 in 4 young people report having witnessed violence against their mother or step-mother.

  • A Victorian study found that just under a third of LGBTIQ+ respondents had been  involved in a same-sex relationship where they were subject to abuse by their partner. This research, in addition to international data suggests that intimate partner violence occurs in LGBTIQ populations at similar levels as within the heterosexual population.

Experiencing and witnessing violence has a large, often life long impact on families, communities and young people’s health and wellbeing, social lives, economic status and future relationships.

Gendered experiences of violence and abuse affect people throughout their lives, whether through personal experience or the experiences of those around them including friends and family. The attitudes and myths that prevent people accessing support are reflected in community organisations, educational institutions and community and support networks. Challenging these attitudes and creating a culture of support and non-violence is necessary to challenge, prevent and end intimate-partner violence and sexual assailt.

Empowerment, the development of effective non-violent communication skills in relationships, and challenging violence enabling attitudes and beliefs can help people of all ages and experiences heal, grow and develop respectful relationships. We aim to discuss the prevalence of violence in ways that give space to what is often experienced as private or shameful. We want to explore violence as something which is not the fault of the victim or survivor of violence, to encourage people not to feel shame and instead to feel empowered to seek support, identify options in their lives and to work in their community to challenge attitudes and behaviours that perpetuate violence.