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Our Watch commends Victorian government’s $61.6 million investment in family violence prevention

April 14 2016 By Hannah Grant, Media and Ambassador Program Manager

Our Watch, the national organisation established to prevent violence against women and their children before it starts, congratulates and welcomes Premier Andrews announcement of half a billion dollars in funding to address the most urgent of the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence recommendations.

In particular, Our Watch welcomes the commitment of $61.6 million in family violence prevention aimed at where Victorians live, work, play and learn. This includes $21.8 million set aside in the 2016/17 budget for Respectful Relationships Education in Victoria’s kindergartens and primary and secondary schools.

Our Watch Chief Executive Officer, Mary Barry, said the timing and scale of the funding demonstrated the momentum around the issue of violence against women and that the Victorian government had paid close attention to the recommendations put forward in the Royal Commission report.

“This is the single largest investment in Respectful Relationships Education by any Australian Government and will go a long way to ensuring Victoria will lead the way in creating a violence-free future,” Ms Barry said.  

“Investment in primary prevention is critical if we are to stop the tide of violence against women and their children, and the evidence is clear that we can stop it before it starts.

“Other States and Territories now need to follow Victoria’s lead, and the Royal Commission’s recommendation, and roll out Respectful Relationships Education through a whole school approach with funding committed for training teachers and further expertise and support roles in departments of education.

“A whole school approach recognises the potential for our schools to lead in their communities in promoting gender equality, respect and attitudes and behaviours that are non-violent.

“This approach not only aims to build the skills of young Australians to reject aggressive behaviour, discrimination and gender stereotyping and develop equal and respectful relationships, but also engages with schools as workplaces and community hubs, to ensure culture, policies and practices are equitable and based on respect,” said Ms Barry.

The funding announcement follows the delivery of the Respectful Relationships in Schools (RREiS) pilot in Victorian high schools last year by Our Watch and the Victorian Departments of Education and Premier and Cabinet.

Nineteen schools, 1700 staff and more than 15,000 students were reached through the pilot, which assisted in the development of a model for the whole school approach.

Ms Barry said that preliminary data from the evaluation confirmed that working with departments of education, gender and violence experts, teachers and schools does produce positive impacts for students and staff.

“By providing age-appropriate educational content through respectful relationships education, we are confident that throughout their schooling, children and young people in Victoria can learn to understand and reject gender stereotypes and build the necessary skills to have non-violent, equal and respectful relationships,” she said.  

An evaluation of the RREiS pilot is due to be released next month.

Media contact

For enquiries or further information: Hannah Grant, Our Watch, mobile 0448 844 930, email Hannah.Grant@ourwatch.org.au

*If you cover this story, or any story regarding violence against women and children, please include the following tagline:

“If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000. For more information about a service in your state or local area download the DAISY App in the App Store or Google Play.”

About Our Watch 

Our Watch’s (previously the Foundation to Prevent Violence against Women and their Children) purpose is to raise awareness and engage the community in action to prevent violence against women and their children.
 
Our Watch was conceived of and brought into existence in 2013 by the Commonwealth of Australia and the State of Victoria. The Northern Territory, South Australian, Tasmanian and Queensland governments have also since become members of the organisation.
 
Our Watch’s work derives from the government’s commitment to the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010 – 2022 and gives expression to many of the activities in the Second Action Plan 2013–2016 – Moving Ahead.