DOMESTIC violence, gender stereotypes and healthy relationships were all topics tackled by students at Trinity Anglican College last week.
Year nine students took part in the Love Bites program, a school-based domestic and family violence and sexual assault prevention program.
The program, which was developed by the National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (NAPCAN), tackles respectful relationships and how to think critically about relationships with other people.
Trinity school councillor Angela Lum said it was critical for students to learn what it takes to maintain healthy relationships early on.
“What we're looking to do with this is provide them with the best possible information and statistics to help them make better decisions,” she said.
“We want young people everywhere to make decisions for their relationships that are best for them.
“The program looks at respectful relationships, the beginning of a relationship, how it progresses and whether it needs to come to an end.
“It teaches students how to identify red flags such as their wellbeing, how they're feeling and how they're being treated.”
As part of the program, students took part in an artwork session where they painted canvases and created a video highlighting the issues they discussed.
They also took part in a series of seminars with representatives from local community support services.
Year nine students Tabitha McDonald and Ainsley Lockhart said the program had promoted strong discussions inside and outside the classroom.
“I think it was really important, I was actually unaware of how bad the problems are,” Tabitha said.
“It makes it easier to talk to people if you find yourself in these kinds of discussions.
“It was really good to hear from the people working in refuges and places like that.”
Ainsley said she believed the program had changed some perceptions for the better.
“It was good to do this sort of thing in class because it was so open, everyone contributed to the discussion,” she said. “I think it'll affect us in a big way.
“People will think more about the things they're saying, they'll think more about their choice of words.
“I think that'll help break down some of the stereotypes around these issues.”
Mrs Lum said the aim of the program was simply to ensure that students were happy.
“Pastoral care and academic care go hand in hand,” she said.
“If students are feeling happy, we know that they'll perform better academically.
“It's all about making good decisions, which leads to academic success, career success, all the life lessons.”