Since we’ve become a White Ribbon school It’s changed actually drastically cause now everyone’s kind of equal. You should never be involved in domestic violence You should always stand up for people that are involved in it And you should always tell someone. I thought it was a very cool idea and I wanted to feel responsible. It’s not just something that affects females It’s something we should be learning about in our classroom and integrated into the syllabus. White Ribbon is all about promoting a culture of respectful relationships in our homes, in our schools, and in our communities. Our Breaking the Silence program operates by using a best practice training model. We equip teachers with the fundamental knowledge and understanding of domestic violence and its causes which enables them to impart that knowledge on their students in a very sensitive and understanding way. It’s about teaching young people what respectful relationships are and what they look like so that we don’t have to then react to domestic violence situations. Peer influence is a very powerful thing we see young men pulling up other guys about “That’s not how you speak to her.” And it shows that what we’re doing is getting results. At its essence this program is a leadership program. It empowers students particularly young men to stand up and speak out. But also young women. In order to understand that they have every right to expect that level of respect. The White Ribbon program is a free program. I don’t think it’s more work for schools I just think it’s concentrated and focused on an incredibly important issue in society. For me, the best part of the experience is the diversity in ways which you can get this message across. We’re a White Ribbon school. We do a walk each year and each year it’s grown, more people are participating. We made a book about bullying and that it’s the worst thing that you could possibly do. We took part within a verbal No session saying no, you’re not taking part within domestic violence against women or men. Every school context is going to be different. Every school will need to express their support in a different way. And every school will need to commit in a different way to the program, depending on what their community is like. When we talk about Breaking the Silence here in the Mount we do it as a whole community approach it’s not only the schools, but it’s the place, it’s businesses they’ve all got an understanding of what we’re trying to achieve. One of the positive parts of the White Ribbon Breaking the Silence program is that it’s evidence-based so you feel comfortable in what you’re teaching and there’s flexibility with integrating into your curriculum. You’ve got support offered by White Ribbon the whole way through and you will see the change in the behaviour and attitudes of your students. I’m seeing a playground where we’ve got children who are more sensitive to each other’s feelings and the awareness-raising is quite significant in the community. I’ve had a number of people contact me to say “I love what you’re doing, how do we get involved?” I see White Ribbon as a program that all schools should really step up to. In some ways once you start, it’s not hard, it’s really powerful. When schools become White Ribbon schools it does change the culture of the school you get this ripple down effect of kids treating staff with respect, staff treating kids with more respect, parents treating the school with more respect. We began with this pilot project in 2009 in this small region in New South Wales. We now have reach from Arnhem Land right down to Tasmania It’s successful, and it’s creating generational change that will carry through into the future.