Teachers play a central role in the early stages of all of our lives.  Importantly, they are well-positioned to shape positive gender-related attitudes and behaviours.  More than 180 staff from Catholic Education – Diocese of Rockhampton [DoR] participated in professional development with Queensland Centre for Domestic and Family Violence [QCDFVR] this month.  QCDFVR staff discussed contemporary challenges and provided strategies to empower school staff to create cultures that promote gender equity.

“Schools are ‘mini communities’ where respect and equality can be modelled, to help shape positive attitudes and behaviours at an early stage of life. They play a central role in teaching young people what violence against women looks like and how it can be prevented.” – Our Watch

Schools are not only places of learning and social interaction for students; they are also workplaces.  With this in mind, Catholic Education – DoR invited QCDFVR to present to our student protection leadership staff from across our diocese about domestic and family violence earlier this month.

The group heard from experienced lecturers and teachers in a series of presentations.  Experienced Domestic and Family Violence Educator, Judy Pidcock explored features of a whole-of-school approach to preventing and responding to domestic and family violence, citing the need for both cultural and procedural change.

Judy challenged staff to model respectful relationships and gender equality practices across the entire school community.

Gleeson C., Kearney S., Leung L. & Brislane J., 2015, Respectful Relationships Education in Schools, Our Watch Evidence Paper, p 20.

Research Professor in Gendered Violence, Annabel Taylor, discussed the impact of exposure to domestic and family violence on children.  In particular, Professor Taylor identified contemporary response interventions as well as the implications for school communities.  Dr Andrew Frost spoke about the relationship of coercion and control in domestic and family violence within the context of school environments.

Attendees at the conference appreciated the diverse presentations from the QCDFVR team which addressed the issue of domestic and family violence through the lens of contemporary evidence.

Queensland Centre for Domestic and Family Violence offers both accredited and non-accredited Professional Development opportunities for employers and workers.  Please contact the Centre on 07 4940 3320 or qcdfvronline@cqu.edu.au for more information, or visit our website www.noviolence.org.au.