Sara from Starrick spoke to us at our meeting about a Respectful Relationships Programme she is involved in introducing to government primary schools to help reduce the incidence of violence particularly towards women. 
In her talk Sara indicated that the incidence of violence against girls and women over the age of 15 was about 1 in 4.  An alarming statistic indeed.  The programme is a state government funded project to try and engage students and teachers about the need to change the way we talk to each other so to break the cycle of violence.  Schools volunteer to be involved in the programme, and receive training in how to go about setting up a culture of respectfulness within the school.  The training is partly on-line and partly in-person.  Sara and her team then spend time with the schools to develop their own unique programme within the school to set up a more respectful culture in the school which will cater for the needs of their community.  This could include finding out where support can be obtained; being able to self-disclose if a family member is on the receiving end of violence at home; changing the language used in student-to-student; student-to-staff; staff-to-staff; staff-parent;  and child-parent interactions and developing strategies for students who need time out because of what had happened to them at home prior to coming to school.
 
The programme is being evaluated to find out the impact it is having on the school and its community by Curtin University.  The final evaluation will conclude in 2022; but the preliminary data is showing a positive trend and showing that schools are making a difference.  Currently they have 30 primary schools involved, and hope to build that to 50 schools based on the funding they have received. 
 
They are also starting to have a conversation with the Telethon Institute; and to see how they can include Aboriginal elders in the conversations they are having around the Respectful Behaviours Programme. 
 
Their aim is to change the dynamics of interactions that people have with each other so that the incidence of violence can be reduced.
 
Thanks Sara, that sounds like a great programme that all schools should benefit from.  Let's hope the data shows that it is worth expanding to all schools.  We'd love to hear more about the programme at a future meeting.