Schools to tackle violence in home
QUEENSLAND schoolchildren will be given lessons to help combat family violence and stop the cycle of controlling and abusive relationships.
The Courier-Mail can reveal the State Government is preparing to adopt recommendations made by the Special Taskforce on Domestic and Family Violence within weeks to begin education programs in primary schools.
It is understood work has begun on programs to teach high school students to recognise family violence, where to seek help and how to safely intervene, and to teach primary school pupils how to resolve conflict without violence.
Both initiatives were recommended by Dame Quentin Bryce following her landmark investigation that revealed harrowing tales from families across the state, but specifics are still being worked on.
Queensland Minister for Women and Youth Shannon Fentiman yesterday confirmed the Government’s response to Dame Quentin’s report would contain announcements “about what we can do to challenge these attitudes, and it has to start with young people”.
She said both teenage boys and girls would benefit from positive messages as they began in the dating world.
“We know that there are attitudes, particularly with young men who think it is ap- propriate to pressure a woman for sex,” she said.
“So as part of challenging those attitudes, those respectful relationship-type programs really help combat those views held by teenage boys. And for young girls, what they should and shouldn’t put up with.”
Ms Fentiman said kids need to understand what constituted family violence, including emotional abuse and controlling behaviour, especially as some were in abusive situations they believed were normal. “We need to be running programs around respectful relationships but also we need to be running programs about how we view women,” she said.
“It needs to start early with young people if we’re going to challenge the attitudes that underpin the cycle of not just physical violence but the controlling behaviour that happens in a domestic and family violence situation.”
The move comes as an ad campaign is under development that will focus on educating children. Federal Assistant Minister for Women Michaelia Cash said cultural change was a key part of reducing family violence.