The Equal, Safe and Strong school project was a pilot program that was implemented in three secondary schools located across the Bayside, Glen Eira and Kingston local council areas.
The project aimed to:
- increase knowledge of violence against women
- increase early intervention strategies in students
- build the capacity of teachers to appropriately respond to instances of family violence
- foster stronger integration between local services providers and schools
SMPCP'S Family Violence Working Group and facilitating organisation ShantiWorks worked together with each school to identify appropriate students to receive training to become peer-leaders. Trained students then presented a component of the training to their peers within the school setting and passed on their new understanding of gender equity and violence against women. School staff were also trained in preventing violence against women and supporting project implementation within the school.
Research has indicated that best practice principles for school based programs targeting family violence have the most success when parents are involved as part of a whole of school approach. The Equal, Safe and Strong project offered information and support to parents as part of the program
Phase I of the project involved the development of collaborative processes between ShantiWorks and the SMPCP Family Violence Working Group.
Phase II took place across Term 1 , 2016 and saw ShantiWorks and the project officer focus on the development of resources and training content for teachers and students and the delivery of teacher training sessions.
Phase III of the project included implementation of parent information sessions and the student program . The project was evaluated and completed in mid 2016.
The program was presented as a poster at the 2015 Stop Domestic Violence Conference in Canberra.
The Victorian Government introduced the Respectful Relationships program into schools after recommendations were made by the Royal Commission into Family Violence. As a result of the introduction of this statewide initiative, no further implementation of Equal, Safe and Strong was conducted.