Reform Delivery: Respectful Relationships

Supporting schools to promote and model respect

Two students sitting at a school desk.

If you’re in a situation when you hear 'you run like a girl' or 'man up'... you know how to deal with it.

So stand up for that person - because just because you’re a girl doesn’t mean you run a certain way.

And when everyone learns about it and realises how to respect other people it makes a happier place.

Jess, Year 9 StudentYarra Hills Secondary College

The program

The Royal Commission into Family Violence identified the critical role played by schools and early childhood education in creating a culture of respect to change the story of family violence for future generations.

The Royal Commission recommended the introduction of respectful relationships education into every government school from prep to Year 12, delivered through a whole-school approach.

Respectful Relationships supports schools and early childhood settings to promote and model respect, positive attitudes and behaviours and teaches our children how to build healthy relationships, resilience and confidence.

More than 1,500 schools across Victoria are currently driving change within their school community by implementing the Respectful Relationships whole school approach.

The 2020/21 State Budget committed $37.5 million over four years to continue rollout of Respectful Relationships.

Teaching and Learning

In 2016, respectful relationships education became a core component of the Victorian Curriculum from foundation to year 12. The program is taught in all government and Catholic schools and many independent schools.

Resilience, Rights & Respectful Relationships teaching and learning materials are an optional suite of resources developed by world-leading experts from the University of Melbourne to support schools to deliver respectful relationships education. The materials are age-appropriate and align to the Victorian Curriculum.

Yarra Hills Secondary College have incorporated respectful relationships education into their learning program with activities specifically tailored for each year level. The program is taught as part of the school's core Health subject where it fits naturally with topics such as bullying and family relationships:

It is changing our school culture for the better. Students are becoming more aware of how their actions are impacting on others. We’ve looked at what it means to be respectful and how you can demonstrate respect in different situations.

Matt Sheaves, Year 9 coordinator Yarra Hills Secondary Colleg
Yarra Hills Secondary College Respectful Relationships program

Whole school approach

Respectful Relationships takes a whole-school approach, recognising that schools are a place of learning, a workplace and a key part of local communities. The program embeds a culture of respect and equality across the entire school community, from classrooms to staffrooms, sporting fields, fetes and social events.

This approach leads to positive change in students’ academic outcomes, their wellbeing, classroom behaviour, and relationships between teachers and students.

Our teachers are working to support students to develop their resilience, social skills and coping mechanisms and I’m proud to say I can see a change across the whole school. We’re moving in the right direction.

Robyn Dew, Mt Evelyn campus Principal
Yarra Hills Secondary College

Early Childhood Professional Learning

Respectful Relationships in early childhood is about supporting educators to create cultures of respect, positive conflict resolution and equality in their program planning.

Professional Learning has been provided to early childhood educators since 2018. The training focuses on how to build and develop respectful relationships in alignment with the Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework and the National Quality Standard.

Spring Gully Primary School Respectful Relationships program