Premiers urged to put respect on school agenda
Plea on home violence
AUSTRALIAN of the Year Rosie Batty will ask every state premier to commit to delivering compulsory domestic violence prevention lessons when she fronts them at next week’s Council of Australian Governments meeting.
Ms Batty said it was essential children in all schools be taught the importance of respectful relationships.
The family violence awareness campaigner has emailed the 21,000 supporters of her Never Alone campaign, urging them to sign a petition sup- porting mandatory respectful relationship lessons in schools.
“Schools are places where respect and equality can be modelled, to help shape positive attitudes and behaviours at an early stage of life,” Ms Batty said. “They can play a central role in teaching young people what violence against women and children looks like and that it is never OK.”
Ms Batty said while good strides had been made in NSW and Victoria in cementing domestic violence awareness within the school curriculum, more needed to be done.
She said it needed to be addressed from a young age and schools were key to ensuring future generations could live without family violence.
Children’s Commissioner Megan Mitchell backed Ms Batty and urged premiers to give the issue consideration.
Ms Mitchell said while some states were delivering domestic violence awareness lessons in the high school curriculum it was also important to reach younger children.
“I really do not think there is a too early here, the issue is how the subject is couched, obviously this has to be done in a way that is sensitive to the age and the stage of the children,” she said.
Domestic Violence NSW chief executive Moo Baulch and Brisbane Domestic Violence Service team leader Kylie Robertson have previously called for domestic violence to be addressed in a more meaningful way in the national curriculum.
A spokesman for Federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne said any changes to the curriculum were a matter for state and territory governments, but learning about respectful relationships was already a part of the national curriculum.