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.

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