Schools to teach students about domestic violence prevention

by James Reid24 Jul 2015

As of Term 1 next year, NSW schools will teach students in Years eight to 10 about how to recognise – and possibly prevent – domestic violence in their households.

Paul Hewitt from the Board of Studies Teaching and Educational Standards told The Moree Champion the plan already had “strong community support”.

“There is a lot of strong community support. Even though this new amendment is small it will be significant to Moree,” Hewitt said. 

The amendment to the syllabus was made after a campaign was carried out by a 14-year-old student whose mother committed suicide due to domestic violence.

The girl wrote a detailed letter to the NSW Education Department saying she was unaware of what was going on in her household, explaining if she was educated more on the issues she would have been able to help her mum. 

Adam Marshall, Member for Northern Tablelands, said schools must equip their students with the knowledge to identify the warning signs of domestic violence so they can take action.

“Knowledge and awareness in these situations is power and the skills students learn could help them identify a dangerous situation, realise the risks and contact the appropriate authorities,” Marshall said.

“Our local schools already give an enormous amount to support the wellbeing of all students; in fact, many use their additional equity (Gonski) funds to run programs targeting bullying and domestic violence, coupled with school support officers and welfare teachers.”

Marshall said that while he supported the classes, the NSW curriculum was “very crowded” and the new additions to the syllabus shouldn’t come at the expense of other educational outcomes.
The changes to the syllabus will be introduced to schools in the first term of 2016. 


  • by Sandra D'Mello 24/07/2015 12:28:56 PM

    I am a recently qualified graduate and am fortunate enough to teach in a girls' school in a bay side suburb in Melbourne. I have been thinking about this issue and would love to introduce the topic to our students, however I would love to know more about how to approach it in a manner that is appropriate to the primary year levels. I think that an issue like this can be structured so that it is introduced to students in varying degrees of detail. Giving them information about accessing a helpline for instance in the early years. Furthermore, I strongly believe that children, no matter how young, are very emotionally savvy.

    Empowering our children to recognise the signs of domestic violence and enabling them to seek help when the abused parent is perhaps in a vulnerable position will be of enormous benefit not only to the parent involved, but to the safety of the children themselves.

    As educators, we owe it to ourselves to publicise this topic nationwide.

  • by Freethechildren from domestic violence 28/10/2015 7:47:16 PM

    I believe this is a great and much needed addition into the NSW educational system! It'll not only allow younger people to understand that what is happening within their homes is not acceptable, but also find the help they need. It'll provide them with the opportunity to open up dialogue to the people they trust and identify, report and protect themselves and others from any sort of violence within the home. In the case of the little girl who petitioned for this change... if only she was aware that the violence within her home was not normal, she could of gotten the help she needed and saved her mum. It's also a great initiative to start teaching younger children about prevention, positive relationships, the idea about respect, and the importance of leading safe and healthy lives!

    I guess my only concern or more so confusion is why they haven't implemented this into the primary school syllabus. Education surrounding the topic should begin earlier than year 8... I mean, research even shows that early education and intervention about violence is a critical factor in fighting against the scourge of domestic violence. So the earlier they learn that domestic violence is wrong, what appropriate behaviour looks like and that there are logical consequences for not following the rules (not physical or verbal violence of course!), the chances of the child becoming violent in the future is significantly reduced.

    I am currently running a domestic violence campaign for the children, would love it if you could check it out