In this section:

Respect Matters

Responsible government

  • Commonwealth

Fourth Action Plan actions

  • Primary prevention is key
    • 5 Promote healthy and safe relationships and build gender equitable values through initiatives for children and young people.

What are we doing?

Respect Matters works with teachers, students and families to:

  • build the capability of teachers and school leaders to deliver respectful relationships education, including developing whole of school implementation plans.
  • engage students through peer learning and advocacy to promote respectful relationships messages in authentic and relatable ways.
  • provide families with materials to build their understanding of respectful relationships education, and support conversations with children.
  • • The Australian Government is providing $2.8 million between 2019–20 and 2021–22 to fund Respect Matters. This in in addition to the $5 million investment in the program under the 2015 Women’s Safety Package.

What have we achieved so far?

Resources developed under the Respect Matters program support the delivery of respectful relationships education nationally, with a view to changing attitudes towards domestic and family violence. The program includes a stand-alone interactive online education platform, called The Good Society, that contains:

    • approximately 350 materials (videos, digital storybooks and other classroom resources) for students in Foundation Year to Year 12
    • education material to support teachers to deliver material in classrooms
    • a teacher account function to tailor content assigned to students in classrooms according to the needs of their students and the school community and
    • information for parents and carers

These materials aim to provide young people with the knowledge and skills to better communicate with one another, make shared decisions, understand consent, resolve conflicts and engage in positive relationships. The Respect Matters program also provides professional learning modules for educators and targeted resources for priority cohorts, available on the Student Wellbeing Hub, and a curriculum connection tool available on the website of the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority.

The Good Society platform is designed to be a live and dynamic resource with content added, removed and modified, to ensure it remains current and appropriate. The Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment has commissioned Monash University’s Gender and Family Violence Prevention Centre to undertake an expert review of all the Respect Matters resources housed on The Good Society website and established a Respectful Relationships Reference Panel to consider recommendations from the expert review and provide advice to the government on existing Respect Matters materials and potential new resources for the website. The Panel includes subject matter experts from the fields of family and gender-based violence and school education, as well as representation from community organisations and youth.

What is next?

  • The Australian Curriculum is currently under review with the intention of refining, realigning and decluttering the content in the curriculum. This includes how the Health and Physical Education curriculum can better support the teaching of respectful relationships and protective behaviour. The revised curriculum will be considered by Education Ministers later this year for commencement at the start of the 2022 school year.
  • Revising content housed on The Good Society website to ensure it is evidence-based and fit for purpose. This will be informed by:
    • findings from Monash University’s expert review
    • advice from the Respectful Relationships Reference Panel
    • changes to the Australian Curriculum
    • findings from an Australian Government commissioned National Stocktake and Gap Analysis of respectful relationships education programs and resources.
  • Ongoing scoping of initiatives to promote uptake of respectful relationships education resources.
  • An evaluation of the Respect Matters program will be undertaken in mid-2022.

What difference will we make?

  • The intended outcomes for these activities include:
    • increased community awareness of the purpose and content of respectful relationships education
    • increased use of program resources in schools and by families
    • increased reach and impact of the program, especially among priority communities including Indigenous, culturally and linguistically diverse, people with disability and people with diverse sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex status.
  • Indicators for the performance of the program include:
    • increased uptake of resources measured through website use and resource downloads
    • increased enrolments and completions of professional learning modules
    • increased website activity, including site visits and visibility of related social media channels and posts.

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