The Courier-Mail

Schools to tackle violence in home

- EXCLUSIVE JESSICA MARSZALEK

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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