Resources produced for the Stop it at the Start campaign are helping a South Australian-based researcher start a conversation in her community on family violence.
The campaign focuses on the role adults play in influencing disrespectful attitudes and behaviours in young people.
Alison Lam, of Port Augusta, works on the Building Safe Communities program with the Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia and travels regularly to rural and remote communities across the state. She began using the resources produced for the Australian government’s Stop it at the Start campaign earlier this year.
“The resources focus on respectful relationships rather than family violence, so people are not shutting down and are more willing to have that conversation,” Alison said.
“Disrespect is at the heart of family violence and this violence is being excused as being cultural, and it’s not. The resources open people’s eyes to what they might be actually doing to encourage disrespect without knowing it.”
Our words can often have hidden meanings, Alison said. Without meaning to, we can say things or use words that excuse disrespectful behaviour towards women.
“There is a line in the Storybook ‘Respect starts with us’ when an adult excuses a young boy being disrespectful to a young girl as, ‘he’s only doing that because he likes you’. I have three girls and I’ve actually heard that being said.”
Resources were produced for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as part of the campaign and include:
Respect starts with us Storybook - follows the journey of young PJ and his family as they learn to recognise disrespectful attitudes and behaviours in themselves, and start having conversations on respectful relationships.
- Respecting women and girls (Conversation Guide) - advice and tips for planning talks with your kids and to help you speak openly with them about respect.
- Understanding our excuses (Excuse Interpreter) - to discover the hidden meanings of common expressions that can excuse disrespectful behaviour towards girls.
- The Respect Checklist - to give you a picture of what your son or daughter might believe, and how they’re likely to react when faced with disrespect or aggression.
- Case studies – Stories that can be read and used individually or in groups that focus on Influencing Respectful Relationships, Teaching Respect and Yarning about Respect.
“The resources are filling a gap as most of the resources on family violence have been produced for mainstream audiences.”
Alison has found the Excuse Interpreter useful in highlighting the excuses adults can make when they see young people behaving disrespectfully.
“It really highlights the false perceptions we have and how we can make excuses without knowing it. The Conversation Guide is great for parents and people are quite interested in it,” Alison said.
Alison has been distributing the resources throughout her networks, to Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations, government and non-government organisations.
“The Storybook has also been well received, particularly in remote communities like Yalata which is around two hours from Ceduna on the west coast of South Australia.”
“I also distributed them at our NAIDOC Family Day and ran out,” she said.
She has also been sending the link to the resources respect.gov.au/campaign/atsi-materials through to women’s services and mothers’ groups.
“Mothers’ groups I’ve visited are looking at the case studies produced for the campaign. Children’s services in Mt Gambier are also using the online resources,” Alison said.
The resources are free to use and can be downloaded at respect.gov.au/campaign/atsi-materials.
To order copies of the Storybook, poster or postcards, contact email@example.com or call 02 9516 3466.