Gippsland students will learn about respectful relationships as part of a new mandatory primary and secondary school subject starting next year to help end the vicious cycle of family violence.

Harriet Shing, Member for Eastern Victoria region said the Andrews Labor Government has invested $21.8 million to roll out this important initiative, delivering on a recommendation from the Royal Commission on Family Violence.

The Respectful Relationships curriculum includes age-appropriate resources, including lesson plans and activities that help students learn and practice social skills and apply them in a positive way to learning, life and relationships.

The focus of the subject in primary years is on treating everyone with respect and dignity, with the secondary years subject building on this by teaching students about the relationship between gender and power.

The resources have been developed by world-leading experts from the Melbourne Graduate School of Education, led by Associate Professor Helen Cahill who worked with UNESCO on similar resources used in the Asia-Pacific.

The new curriculum has been developed following a trial of a whole-of-school approach to respectful relationships that was run in 19 Victorian schools by the Department of Education and Training and the anti-family violence organisation Our Watch.

Our Watch’s report evaluating the trial found embedding Respectful Relationships education in a school’s culture leads to clear improvements in student and staff knowledge, attitude and confidence in discussing issues of violence, equality and respectful relationships.

The new Respectful Relationships curriculum starts in term one, 2017.

Quotes attributable to Member for Eastern Victoria, Harriet Shing:

“From next year Gippsland students will learn about respectful relationships in primary and secondary school as part of the Victorian curriculum.”

“The evidence shows that education is key to ending the vicious cycle of family violence, and this initiative is another important step towards implementing all of the recommendations from the Royal Commission on Family Violence.”

”This new subject is about teaching our kids to treat everyone with respect and dignity and highlights the intergenerational and cultural change that is required to end the scourge of family violence.”