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Students taught about respectful relationships to combat domestic violence

The $22 million program, which will also teach Australian students about 'male privilege', starts in schools next year.

Some Australian schools will include teaching “respectful relationships” in their curriculum next year.

The Victorian government is introducing the subject in primary and secondary schools in an effort to end family violence, and improve attitudes on equality and respectful relationships. It will be mandatory in all state schools.

Primary school students will be taught “respect and dignity” and high school students will focus on the relationship between power and gender, and “male privilege”. Older students will learn what to do if they witness sexual harassment within their peer groups.

Unequal pay, anger management, the dangers of pornography and the toll of insults based on sexual orientation are among other areas explored in the curriculum.

The Minister of Education, James Merlino, says information is the key to breaking the cycle of domestic violence.

“This is about teaching our kids to treat everyone with respect and dignity so we can start the cultural change we need in our society to end the scourge of family violence,” he said.

However critics of the $22 million program claim it is an “indoctrination of children”.

“The idea behind this program – that all men are latent abusers by nature of the ‘discourse’ – is an idea that only cloistered feminist academics could love,” Jeremy Sammut, a senior ­research fellow at the Centre for Independent Studies, told The Australian.

“A lot of evidence suggests that like child abuse, domestic ­violence is a byproduct of social dysfunction: welfare, drugs, family breakdown,” he added.

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