The Respectful Relationships program supports schools and early childhood settings to promote and model respect, positive attitudes and behaviours. It teaches our children how to build healthy relationships, resilience and confidence. The Respectful Relationships whole-school approach recognises that schools are a workplace, a community hub and a place of learning. Everyone involved in our school community deserves to be respected, valued and treated equally. We know that changes in attitudes and behaviours can be achieved when positive attitudes, behaviours and equality are lived across the school community, and when classroom learning is reinforced by what is modelled in our school community. The Respectful Relationships program links well with our positive Education initiative.
The evidence for Respectful Relationships
The evidence supporting Respectful Relationships is overwhelming and comes from respected institutions such as the World Health Organisation and The Royal Commission into Family Violence. Helping children develop an understanding of healthy relationships and respect is key to preventing family violence in the future.
The primary prevention of family violence
Primary prevention of violence against women includes programs, campaigns, policies or other measures that set out to address the underlying factors and reduce the likelihood that violence against women will take place. Such actions may include strategies that:
• promote equal and respectful relations between men, women, boys and girls
• promote non-violent social norms and reduce the effects of prior exposure to violence
• promote access to resources and systems of support (VicHealth, 2007).
The Victorian Curriculum F-10 includes learning about respectful relationships in both health and physical education and the personal and social capability curriculum. In the health and physical education curriculum, students develop the knowledge, understanding and skills to strengthen their sense of self, and build and manage safe and respectful relationships. In the personal and social capability curriculum, predominantly delivered through Positive Education and Home Group, students learn to recognise and regulate emotions, develop empathy for others and establish and build a framework for positive relationships.