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Tools and resources for supporting schools and early childhood services to deliver evidence-based respectful relationships education.

Education is one of the key settings for primary prevention activity. The respectful relationships education program is the largest scale primary prevention initiative being implemented in Victorian schools and early childhood services.

In 2016, respectful relationships education was introduced as a mandatory component of the Victorian curriculum from foundations to Year 12 in all state and Catholic schools. It seeks to embed a culture of respect and equality through the entire school and education system to support attitudinal and behavioural change in children and young people, as well as parents, staff and the wider community. This holistic approach to respectful relationships in schools is called a ‘whole school’ approach.

Respectful relationship tools

The setting-specific tools listed below have been collated for primary prevention practitioners who are supporting and partnering with schools and early childhood services. They will help develop, implement and evaluate an evidence-based, whole of school approach to respectful relationships education.

Some tools are designed to build practitioner skills and knowledge while others have been included to use with children, families or partner organisations.

These tools will support practitioners to address the key drivers of family and gender-based violence.

Early childhood education

Featured resource
Building respect and equity among young children tip sheet series (2018)

This tip sheet series was co-developed by Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria and City of Melbourne. It helps professionals who work with young children to promote respect and gender equity in their work. The resource covers taking a whole of service approach, supporting children’s sense of identity, intentional teaching, teaching for care, the importance of language, observing and documenting, and working with families.

Audit tools
The following tools are designed primarily for a school context but can be adapted for use in early childhood services:

Booklets
Gender equity books provide a fantastic opportunity for children to think outside of traditional gender roles. Here are some lists to choose from:

Classroom activities
Playing fair – gender equity in child care (2009) includes strategies and practical ideas for promoting gender equity in early childhood services, ideas for challenging gender play and patterns, and strategies for conversations with children.
Other resources
The City of Darebin and Women’s Health in the North’s Creating Gender Equity in the Early Years aims to strengthen gender equitable skills and practices across Darebin’s early years centres. Each section of the resource for local government focuses on a theme or audience for improving gender equity in the early years, and is accompanied by a training video, additional resources and reflective practice questions.

City of Melbourne’s Building Respect and Equity among Young Children pilot project includes a literature review summary, two introductory fact sheets for parents and early childhood educators, and a series of tip sheets to help professionals who work with young children to promote respect and gender equity in their work.

EDVOS’s Level Playground is a website and social media channels for early childhood educators, parents and caregivers. It aims to challenge rigid gender stereotypes and gender norms in everyday interactions with young children.

Play Unlimited challenges the gendered stereotyping of toys.

Primary schools

Featured resource

Professional learning

  • The Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority has specialist curriculum consultants to train teachers delivering the Resilience, Rights and Respectful Relationships learning resources (see curriculum section below).
  • Women’s health services across Victoria often provide prevention, gender equity and analysis training in their local communities.
  • VicHealth’s preventing violence against women training is a two-day course providing practical knowledge and skills on how to prevent violence against women. This training would benefit community organisations supporting schools.

Audit tools
Core Victorian Government Department of Education and Training curriculum resource
F-12 Resilience, Rights and Respectful Relationships Learning Resources (2016).
This curriculum resource was designed to be delivered by trained classroom teachers, with support where required from community-based experts in respectful relationships education. The Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority has specialist curriculum consultants to assist teachers with curriculum and lesson planning, and professional development.
Complimentary curriculum resource
Deakin University’s Sexuality Education Matters (2013) provides pre-service educators with the tools to build the skills, knowledge and confidence of future teachers to integrate gender, gender-based violence and sexuality education into their teaching.
Booklists
Gender equity books provide a fantastic opportunity for children to think outside of traditional gender roles. Here are some lists to choose from:

Classroom activities

Reading for school staff
Breaking the Mould (resource series)

In this project, the National Union of Education (UK) worked with a small group of primary schools to consider how ‘traditional’ gender stereotypes could be challenged in the classroom.

Secondary schools

Personal learning

  • The Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority has specialist curriculum consultants to train teachers delivering the Resilience, Rights and Respectful Relationships learning resources (see curriculum section below).
  • It’s Time We Talked provides training to teachers and community organisations to develop their understanding of how easily accessible pornography is influencing young people’s sexual expectations and behaviour.

Featured resources

Audit tools

Core Victorian Government Department of Education and Training curriculum resources

Complimentary curriculum resources

  • Inspiro and EDVOS’s Take Action for Gender Equality & Respect: Student Guide (2018) is a student voice resource co-designed by young people. It aims to support young people to reflect on what gender equality and respect means to them, engage with their peers on gender issues and take action to create change in their community.
  • Rosie in the Classroom (2018) is an educational resource kit created to assist teachers in talking about difficult but important topics, like sexting or respect in relationships, with students in years 7–10. Each module includes a downloadable lesson plan and video that can be screened in class.
  • In the Picture (2014) from It’s Time We Talked addresses the influence of explicit sexual imagery.
  • Deakin University Sexuality Education Matters (2013) provides pre-service educators with the tools to build the skills, knowledge and confidence of future teachers to integrate gender, gender-based violence and sexuality education into their teaching.

Classroom activities

Articles and images to prompt discussion
Partners in Prevention has created a list of articles and images for practitioners to incorporate into the training they provide to school staff and sessions they run with families or community organisations. They can also be provided to teachers as a curriculum resource to use with their students.
Relationships resources

  • Sex, Love and Other Stuff: A Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria booklet developed for young men – with young men – that talks about sex, relationships, power and respect.
  • Love: the good, the bad and the ugly: A Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria guide for young women on love, respect and abuse in dating relationships.
  • Relationship Things: An online resource, developed by YWCA Canberra, designed to help people aged 14–18 decide what kinds of relationships are good for them. It deals with gender, choice, communication, relationships, consent and safe sex, and includes information and further resources for students and educators.
  • That’s Not Cool: Includes posters and videos with a focus on texting, sexting and online stalking.

Other websites

  • The Line: This Our Watch site is currently offline. However you can email Our Watch to request notification of when it comes back online. It’s a great resource to support with initiating discussion and information on gender, respect and relationships. It also supports parents and teachers to talk to young people about violence.
  • It’s Time We Talked: This site supports young people, parents, schools, government and the community sector to understand and address the influence of pornography.
  • That’s Not Cool: focuses on abuse through on online and mobile technology.

Respectful relationships education policy resources

Responding to disclosures

Respectful relationships education may lead to disclosures of experiences of violence from both victim survivors and perpetrators. This can include children, young people, their families or staff. It is important that all early childhood and school staff are trained and confident to respond to these disclosures before any activities related to respectful relationships education are introduced.

Prevention practitioners and community organisations working in partnership with schools also need to ensure that they are aware of departmental policy around mandatory reporting and the Child Safe Standards. PROTECT is the Department of Education and Training’s primary response to the implementation of the Child Safe Standards. Advice for schools about mandatory reporting can be found in the department’s Policy and Advisory Library.

Visit our responding to disclosures page for more advice on providing a safe and supportive response, as well as information on professional development opportunities.    

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