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Ellen

Ellen Poyner

Year of Award: 2014 Award State: South Australia Social Welfare > Domestic Violence
To investigate family violence and sexual assault prevention approaches, programs and evaluations - USA, Canada
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Project Description

My 2014 Churchill Fellowship provided the opportunity for travel across Canada and the United States of America to investigate family violence and sexual assault prevention programs, approaches and evaluations. Also known as Respectful Relationships Education, this topic of inquiry is recognised as an important component of Australia’s holistic approach to prevent gender-based violence.

Highlights

An overwhelming highlight was the opportunity to build connections and learn from passionate, committed, intelligent, inspirational and generous people. I was struck by the number of people who spoke about the pride they felt in being part of the growing awareness and action to end violence against women and girls. Whilst each person and program provided opportunity for learning, my experiences with the Fourth R in London, Canada and the Idaho Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence in Boise, USA were particular highlights of my Fellowship. The week I spent with the Fourth R team provided rich learning about their comprehensive, researchbased approach. I was inspired by their program’s integration into the education system; its skills based approach, thorough commitment to program adaptability and current research focus on sustainability. My experience with the Idaho Coalition and at their Compassionate Communities Conference was both inspirational and challenging. I valued the opportunity to experience intersectionality in practice, and to witness the genuine value placed on young people as partners in violence prevention.

Major Lessons and Conclusions

Based on the lessons learned across my Fellowship, I make the following recommendations for those involved in violence prevention/Respectful Relationships Education across Australia: 1. Respectful Relationships Education be informed by intersectionality – the theory that all forms of discrimination or oppression are interconnected; 2. Violence prevention approaches include young people as meaningful partners and leaders; 3. School-based violence prevention approaches commit to being holistic in nature; 4. Respectful Relationships Education includes opportunities for young people to learn and practice relationship skills; 5. Violence prevention programs and approaches be integrated into school systems; 6. Communities’ diverse needs be met through the adaptation of violence prevention programs and with the provision of tools to support flexibility.

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