Media Release by The Hon Tanya Pibersek MP

Respectful Relationship Program to begin in 40 Northern Territory Schools

Joint Media Release with:

  • Jenny Macklin, Minister for Families Housing Community Services and Indigenous Affairs
  • Malarndirri McCarthy MLA, Northern Territory Minister for Children and Families
  • Damian Hale MP, Member for Solomon

The Australian and Northern Territory Governments today announced that 40 schools will receive funding to roll out respectful relationship programs.

Minister for the Status of Women Tanya Plibersek, Northern Territory Minister for Children and Families Malarndirri McCarthy and Member for Solomon Damian Hale made the announcement today at Nightcliff Primary School in Darwin.

Today’s announcement means the Australian Government will invest $785,000 to implement the South Australian Government’s Keeping Safe child protection curriculum in 40 schools across the Northern Territory.

The Northern Territory Department of Education is being funded to implement the SA Government Keeping Safe program in five urban and 35 remote schools, with approximately 2,000 students benefitting from the program.

The program will adapt the Keeping Safe material to the Northern Territory environment and will be complemented by the South Australian Strategies for Managing Abuse and Trauma (SMART) support program for teachers.

The Keeping Safe child protection curriculum focuses on the right to be safe, respectful relationships, recognising and reporting abuse and protective strategies for children aged from pre-school through to Year 12 students.

Keeping Safe is currently being implemented in all South Australian schools.

“The Rudd Government is determined to work in partnership with all levels of government and the non-government sector to help protect children,” Ms Macklin said.

Ms Plibersek said the Rudd Government has a zero tolerance when it comes to violence against women and their children.

“To reduce and prevent violence against women and children, it is important young people are taught the skills to build and maintain respectful relationships for life,” Ms Plibersek said.

Ms McCarthy said Keeping Safe is recognised as the most far-reaching respectful relationships education approach being delivered in any state education system across the country.

“Programs such as this help will young men and women better understand their relationships and responsibilities within their family,” Ms McCarthy said.

Mr Hale said programs will be monitored and evaluated to ensure the help we are giving young people best meets their needs and those of their communities.

“This investment will give young people the knowledge and guidance needed to ensure greater respect amongst families and communities,” Mr Hale said.

Today’s announcement is jointly funded from the Australian Government’s Respectful Relationships Program ($300,000) and the Family Violence Partnership Program (485,000).

The Australian Government’s Respectful Relationship Program is investing $9.1 million over five years to test and evaluate best practice respectful relationships education programs with school-aged young people across the country.

Programs will be tested in school and non-school settings and will address the diversity of young people, including those with intellectual disabilities, young people who have left school, and young people living in remote communities.

It is expected that over 8,000 young people will benefit from the education and support that will be provided through the life of the program.