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REACH, TEACH & SUPPORT Sexual Health Promotion Conference Tuesday 24 th August 2010. Kylie Murphy Safe in Romantic Relationships Project RMIT University, Bundoora. Maximising ‘healthy relationships’ education with adolescents. What we know about Healthy Relationships Education
What we know about Abusive Relationships:
A model for responding preventatively
Findings of a recent program trial
Opportunities for integration?Session overview
Little is known about what constitutes effective “healthy relationships” education because very little program evaluation has occurred in this area
But preventative education with young people is not new; program evaluation in other areas tells us…What do we know?
No factor or set of factors has been found to ‘cause’ a relationship to become harmful
Perpetration factors increase the odds of behaving abusively with a partner
The strongestpredictors of serious harm occurring in a relationship are
Attachment Experiences, Abuse, Neglect, Community & Family Violence, Popular Media
Personal ‘Slippery Slope’ Vulnerability Factors
Behavioural Repertoire & Conditioning
Attitudes & Beliefs
Emotional & Relational factors
Exposure to partner’s Warning-Sign Behaviours (WSB)
Accommodation and/or Aggressionresponses feed Anger, Overdependence, and/orPower imbalance
Repeated exposure or intensification...
Serious Social, Emotional, and/or Physicalharms
1. Raisingawareness of how the relationship abuse “slippery slope” works
2. Promotingskills for resisting the “slippery slope” from when the earliest WSBs appearWhat does this model mean for prevention?
At this stage, piloted only with girls
Increased tendency to propose assertive responses to hypothetical WSB situations
Decreased tendency to propose aggressive responses to WSB by a partner
Strengthened sense of self-agency
Decreased victim blamingEvaluation Findings
Can harness girls’ potential for positive self-agency without contributing to victim blaming
Importance of a structural feminist framework
Program was effective without focusing on gender-based inequalities, norms, stereotypes, etc.
Validity of “the problem is male” claim
Many girls’ pre-program responses to WSB were rewarding and/or aggressive depending on the WSB
Usefulness of “perpetrator/victim” thinking
Perpetrator and victim roles are not well defined in young people’s relationships; need to teach skills for ‘keeping a grip’ in potential slippery slope situations regardless of who initiates WSBChallenges to current ideology
Are there themes, knowledge or skills common to ‘sexual and reproductive health’ and ‘healthy relationships’ education?
Or should these subjects be delivered as distinct units?
Level 5 (Year 7/8)
Level 6 (Year 9/10)