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MATTHEW Flinders Girls Secondary College this month became the third school near Pakington Street to sign up to a ground-breaking program preventing violence against women.
The college will run the Respectful Relationships program for its Year 9 and 10 students with the Barwon Centre Against Sexual Assault (Barwon CASA).
College principal Michelle Crofts said the program would help their girls understand the issues of gender inequality and how to participate in respectful relationships.
“And what to do if they do not turn out to be what they expected,” she said.
The six sessions for students include topics such as consent, the impacts of sexual assault, speaking up about sexual assault and being a bystander.
Clonard and St Joseph’s Colleges signed up to the program in 2013, which is part of the Sexual Assault Prevention Program in Secondary Schools.
St Joseph College principal Paul Tobias said his school signed up to the program to “build emotionally intelligent and responsible young men”.
“It’s certainly educated our boys to be more conscious of their obligations and responsibilities to the opposite sex,” he said.
A number of other schools in Geelong have also signed up to the program.
Last year the Department of Education and Training announced that respectful relationships education would be part of the Victorian curriculum.
Barwon CASA Prevention of Violence Against Women project officer Dr Pamela Bjork-Billings said this was due to the well-researched link between gender inequality and violence against women.
“Teachers are supported by CASA staff who are experienced in this program and in dealing with the issues which arise when teenagers discuss relationships,” she said.
“An important aspect is the training provided to the teachers before the program begins and the ongoing support that the CASA gives.”

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