Respectful relationships education bolstered by new Respect program
Published Friday, 07 October, 2022 at 09:23 AM
Minister for Education, Minister for Industrial Relations and Minister for Racing
The Honourable Grace Grace
The Palaszczuk Government has delivered an updated and upgraded suite of resources for the delivery of respectful relationships education in Queensland schools, including a public online hub for families and students.
New and strengthened information on concepts like consent education, reporting of sexual assault, ethical decision-making, coercive control, forms of abuse and drivers of gender-based violence have been incorporated into the new Respect program.
The Respect program will support teachers with the resources they need to provide comprehensive, age-appropriate respectful relationships education, with a $15.5 million investment in professional development and specialist advisors.
Education Minister Grace Grace said the Respect program builds on the existing Queensland Respectful Relationships Education program introduced in 2017 in response to the recommendations from the landmark Not Now, Not Ever report from Dame Quentin Bryce into domestic and family violence.
“Queensland has led the nation when it comes to respectful relationships education,” Ms Grace said.
“In March 2021 I instigated a comprehensive review to make sure we were delivering the best age-appropriate resources and materials to our schools.
“We consulted more than 180 stakeholders including subject matter experts, parents, teachers, principals, and most importantly, students themselves.
“Students told us they wanted to talk about consent in a direct and mature way – no euphemisms or gimmicks – and they wanted to be engaged in discussions that would help them respond to real-life issues.”
Earlier this year, education ministers from across Australia announced that consent education would be mandatory in the national curriculum from 2023.
“Queensland’s updated Respect materials are now available online in a Respectful Relationships Education hub, which also includes publicly available resources for parents and high school students,” Ms Grace.
“The Respect materials will be available for all schools – state, Catholic and independent.
“Teachers may choose to use all or some of the resources in the Respect program, depending on their needs.
“All schools are different and school communities are best placed to decide their approach to delivering respectful relationships education. The Respect program is there to guide them.
“We want to support teachers and schools in delivering this as effectively as possible.
“The $15.5 million announced in this year’s budget will support eight principal advisor roles, one in each region and one in central office, and fund professional development time for teachers away from the classroom.
“The advisors, who have now been appointed and completed their inductions, will provide tailored professional development for our state schools and teachers to ensure they are prepared to deliver what are at times challenging and sensitive topics.
“Every Queensland state school will be able to provide teachers and staff with time to access appropriate professional development and curriculum planning.”
Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman said the important initiative is part of the Palaszczuk Government’s response to the Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce.
“The respectful relationships education initiative is critical, as we strive to help students build safe, supportive, and respectful relationships,” Ms Fentiman said.
“Teaching positive behaviours and skills from a young age will assist with combatting issues such as gender inequality and family and domestic violence.
“This is another example of the Palaszczuk Government delivering better services for Queensland.”
The Respect program is now available online for teachers for professional development and training in Term 4, before incorporation of the materials into classroom learning in 2023.
The public resources in the Respectful Relationships Education Hub are available here.
Contact: Bryce Heaton 0434 575 237
Kathleen Farrelly, Spinifex State College Year 12 student and member of the Ministerial Student Advisory Council:
“To allow all individuals to thrive and grow, consideration and respect in all relationships is crucial. Respect is a universal language, key in improving our society, and, accordingly, is a value essential to teach to Australian youth.”
Elin Jones, Indooroopilly State High School Year 12 Cultural Captain
“Respectful relationships are important to me because they allow everyone to be heard and feel included by their companions.
“Everyone deserves respect. Important skills to build respectful relationships include patience, setting, maintaining and respecting boundaries, and listening without interrupting.”
Denise Kostowski, Forest Lake State High School Principal
“The department’s new Respect program will assist schools to engage students in relevant age-appropriate activities to support learning in this important area.
“It’s vital that schools and families work together to support students in gaining the skills they need to form healthy and respectful relationships.
“Schools are places where respect is explicitly taught in the classroom, and where students, staff and families can model and demonstrate respect and equality, in our everyday interactions.”
Lyndsay Arling, Ferny Grove State School Year 6 Teacher
“We’re a real community who are working respectfully with each other, and the children really unpick and understand what the word respect means, and we’re constantly revisiting that word, and revisiting how we work together in respectful ways.”
Chris Mountford, Independent Schools Queensland CEO
“ISQ was proud to represent the independent sector in the extensive and collaborative effort to produce the Queensland Respect resources.
“By having a seat at the table as part of the Respectful Relationship Education Advisory Group, we were able to ensure these resources will support schools across all sectors wishing to promote healthy, respectful relationships as part of their curriculum or pastoral care programs.”
Catherine O’Kane, All Hallows’ School Principal
“Constructive conversations between schools and students, parents and policymakers on the issue of sexual consent, have moved us closer to real progress.
“The nationwide mandate for consent education was a start but we cannot rest until every student in our collective care is safe and respected.
“While Queensland’s Respectful Relationships review process has delivered contemporary, evidence-based and age-appropriate curriculum materials for Prep to Year 12, it is vital we continue to hear and learn through the lived experience of young people.”
Cresta Richardson, Queensland Teachers’ Union President
“Sadly, every school community across the state has been impacted by domestic and family violence (DFV) and gendered violence.
We know that DFV affects the students we teach, our colleagues and our families, and it’s preventable.
As a key stakeholder, the QTU has continued to work with the department for a fully funded RRE program in schools, so that teachers and school leaders can access quality professional development and support for implementation.”
Patty Kinnersly, Our Watch CEO
“We welcome the announcement by the Queensland Government of a new respectful relationships education program.
“We support an evidence-based whole of school approach to preventing gender-based violence by promoting gender equality and respectful relationships.”