Lessons in respect

Matthew Flinders Girls Secondary College principal Michelle Crofts, Barwon CASA CEO Helen Bolton and Bellarine Secondary College principal Alison Murphy. 151376

BELLARINE Secondary College took steps to prevent violence against women this month by signing up to the Respectful Relationships program.
The college will run the program for its Years 9 and 10 students in partnership with the Barwon Centre Against Sexual Assault (Barwon CASA).
College principal Alison Murphy said it would help “students understand what a respectful relationship is”.
“The professional training provided to our staff will ensure the messages from the program are embedded in the school,” she said.
“Our goal is for Bellarine students to develop as respectful and resilient individuals and this program will certainly support that.”
The six sessions for students include topics such as consent, the impacts of sexual assault, speaking up about sexual assault and being a bystander.
A number of other schools in Geelong have signed up to the program, which is part of the Sexual Assault Prevention Program in Secondary Schools (SAPPSS).
SAPPSS was developed by CASA House and has been operating for a number of years.
Last year the Department of Education and Training announced that respectful relationships education will be part of the Victorian curriculum.
Barwon CASA Prevention of Violence Against Women project officer Dr Pamela Bjork-Billings said this was due to the well-researched link between gender inequality and violence against women.
“Teachers are supported CASA staff who are experienced in this program and in dealing with the issues which arise when teenagers discuss relationships,” she said
“An important aspect is the training provided to the teachers before the program begins and the ongoing support that the CASA gives.”