FIFTEEN hundred high school boys will be taught what respectful relationships with women look like under a new education program announced today by Centacare Catholic Family Services, in partnership with the Port Adelaide Football Club and State Government.
The Power to End Violence Against Women initiative will educate male students in 20 schools about healthy relationships, respect, trust and gender equality, and the dangers of abusive behaviour.
The program is in response to the shocking prevalence of violence against women and will teach young men that domestic violence is a choice, not an involuntary reaction or response to irritation or anger.
Power captain Travis Boak and former champion Gavin Wanganeen will help deliver the lessons aimed at shaping stronger values and better decision-making amongst young males.
Centacare Catholic Family Services director Dale West said talking to young men about unhealthy and violent relationships, was a critical element of eradicating the scourge of domestic violence.
Mr West said research showed that by the time young people turn 14, most have experienced or witnessed some form of domestic abuse, including physical violence.
“Preventative education is urgently needed in order to begin influencing and informing the attitudes of male youth,” he said.
“We have to stop boys growing into dangerous men. There is never a good reason for a man to be aggressive towards a woman.
“By partnering with Port Adelaide Football Club and the State Government, we can equip students with the information and education they need to make better informed life choices .”
The initiative is being funded by $100,000 from Centacare and $50,000 contributions by the State Government and PAFC. The lessons will begin in classrooms next year.
“There is no doubt that increasingly, men are resorting to violence and controlling behaviours,” Mr West said.
“This has caused our community to expect regular reporting of the deaths of women in their family environments. This must not become an acceptable outcome for often preventable tragedies.”
Port Adelaide chief executive Keith Thomas said footballers by their actions and messages played an important role in shaping the values and decision-making of young males in society.
“As the leader of Port Adelaide I want to encourage our players and other young men to open up and have conversations about respectful relationships,” said Mr Thomas.
“Violence against women needs to be seen as a choice and to make informed choices, young men need information, education and leadership. This is where we our players here at Port Adelaide can play a role.
“Our players are committed to sharing their personal stories and experiences to around 1500 students in schools around South Australia as part of the Power to end Violence against Women campaign.”