Gender and Respectful Relationships: Implementing the curriculum in schools

Given the recent controversy surrounding the Respectful Relationships curriculum, understanding what it is, and the evidence behind it is important. The article shared today is an evidence paper issued by the organisation Our Watch at the end of 2015, and explores these topics.

Based on extensive research, Our Watch’s paper establishes what Respectful Relationships education can look like, and what best practice is (that is, the best way to go about it).

A large part of the paper is dedicated to justifying Respectful Relationships education. Our Watch contends that the initiative is necessary to prevent gender-based violence (a term used instead of violence against women that includes more elements of how women and girls can be harmed in society).

According to Our Watch, gender-based violence is not inevitable, and primary prevention measures (that is, measures that work to address societal attitudes that make violence seem okay) like Respectful Relationships can work. The paper argues it is particularly important to do this in schools early when formative education is already occurring, while also ensuring that broader social and cultural change happens too.

Ultimately, Our Watch’s paper outlines lots of potential benefits that Respectful Relationships can have. Given the evidence the researchers share, will Respectful Relationships in Victorian schools prevent gender-based violence? What will be necessary for this to occur?

Gleeson, C, Kearney, S, Leung, L & Brislane, J 2015, Respectful Relationships Education in Schools: Evidence Paper, Our Watch, viewed 7 November 2016, https://www.ourwatch.org.au/getmedia/4a61e08b-c958-40bc-8e02-30fde5f66a25/Evidence-paper-respectful-relationships-education-AA-updated.pdf.aspx