Deb James

For too long our governments, and we as a community, have paid little attention to the scourge of family violence. The statistics are shocking, with thousands of Australian families affected by violence that happens in the family home – a place where every person should feel respected, loved and safe.

Finally our state and federal governments have begun to act. In Victoria, the Andrews Government has announced the introduction of a Respectful Relationships program in our schools. Similar initiatives have been announced or are in place in other states, but these measures can only be effective with strong leadership and a continued focus on education and awareness.

In this edition of IE, Dr Phil Lambert, General Manager of Curriculum at ACARA discusses how education can develop positive behaviours and attitudes amongst our students from an early age. He writes that children begin to develop their values of respect and personal responsibility at school, and within the school curriculum there is a great opportunity for individual teachers and schools to make a difference around a number of social issues, including family violence.

In her interview, Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Tanya Plibersek MP, talks about her time at school. She credits teachers with bringing out the best in her own children by identifying their strengths and passions. Tanya says teachers play a vital role in encouraging students to become critical thinkers, to ask questions and help communicate and build a healthy democracy.

And it is with communication, awareness and support, we can aim to highlight the scourge of family violence. With education, we can work together to eradicate it all together.