Respectful Relationships at De La Salle

At De La Salle College, we believe that education is more than just academic success. We believe in education, grounded in the Catholic faith, that teaches the importance of respect so that students may develop positive relationships with others in society.

De La Salle College is a partner school in an initiative that providing intensive training and support to over 1000 Government, Catholic and independent schools to implement the whole school approach to Respectful Relationships.

This year, the existing Personal Development Program has been complemented with the new Resilience, Rights and Respectful Relationships curriculum materials designed by the Victorian Department of Education and Training. The resources have been developed by experts from Deakin University and the University of Melbourne. These age-appropriate and evidence-based resources support curriculum delivery and include lesson plans and activities that help students learn and practice social skills and apply them in a positive way to learning, life and relationships.

Teaching children how to have equal and respectful relationships and how to challenge harmful gender stereotypes will have a long-lasting, positive impact on the prevalence of violence against women in Australia, and on the prevalence of violence in our society in general. 

From an early age, young people can be exposed to harmful messages, attitudes and behaviours that can support violence and stereotype men and women. Many young people witness violence at home and may experience or even perpetrate violence in their own intimate relationships. This is an unfortunate and confronting reality.

Exposure to negative messages, attitudes and behaviours related to gender, consent and violence means that some young people accept violence as normal in their daily lives. This can take the form of victim-blaming or thinking that some violent acts are not serious.

Compared to the rest of the population, young people aged 16 – 24 are: 

  • less likely to understand the dynamics of violence in relationships 
  • less likely to reject violence-supporting attitudes
  • more likely to hold attitudes that support men having greater power than women in relationships

The Resilience, Rights and Respectful Relationships learning materials gives each student the greatest opportunity to actively engage with the learning process, as well as suggested professional reading material for teachers and recommendations for students seeking support. 

Studies show that a student’s connectedness or belonging to school and family is the single most important protective factor for young people. It is associated with both positive health and academic outcomes. Students who develop social, emotional and positive relationships skills are: 

  • more likely to be motivated 
  • more likely to show improved academic outcomes 
  • more likely to have higher academic self-efficiency 
  • more likely to show improved mental health 
  • less likely to abuse substances 
  • less likely to engage in violence 

To explore the Resilience, Rights and Respectful Relationships teaching and learning materials click here.

Year 9 students at De La Salle College participated in the Polished Man movement at lunchtime on 20 October. Initiated and organised by Charlie McGann, Year 9, students and teachers at the Holy Eucharist Campus were invited to paint one fingernail blue to mark their awareness of and commitment to ending domestic violence. We congratulate Charlie for bringing this innovative movement to the attention of the College. 

If this topic raises concerns or issues for you or someone you know, please call the 24–7 National Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence Counselling Service on 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732). 

Ms Jessica Alger
Deputy Principal — Students

Back to The Duce Issue 2019 16 - 14 November 2019