Media Releases

White Ribbon is Breaking the Silence: Leading the Way In Respectful Relationships Education

White Ribbon Australia (White Ribbon) understands that engaging with children and young people is key to creating social change and ending men’s violence against women. The statistics are shocking, with one in four women affected by intimate partner violence in their lifetime and 1 in 4 children exposed to domestic violence, a recognized form of child abuse .

Today, White Ribbon is proud to announce that an additional 116 schools across Australia have completed White Ribbon’s award-winning Breaking the Silence Schools Program.

The Breaking the Silence Program complements existing school curricula, giving teachers and students the opportunity to embed respectful relationships education in a way that is meaningful and sustainable for that particular school. It integrates with numerous school frameworks such as the National Safe Schools Framework, to provide a whole of school approach to student wellbeing.

The Program directly aligns with the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children (2010-2022) and the findings of the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence. Both identify schools as a priority for violence prevention.

“We congratulate these schools on their leadership to bring about social change. What children and young people learn about respectful relationships today will set them up for the rest of their lives. That’s a real investment in Australia’s future,” Nicholas Cowdery, Chair of White Ribbon Australia said.

“By giving staff and students the means and language to deal with harmful messages, to understand gender stereotyping and to talk openly about respect, this award-winning initiative is breaking the silence about domestic violence.”

The Breaking the Silence Program has reached over 220,000 students and 15,600 principals from both primary and secondary schools. Independent evaluation demonstrates the program is working. It is evidencing positive attitudinal and behavioural change.

This year, White Ribbon is working with schools across every State and Territory to bring respectful relationships education and lasting social change to the next generation of young Australians.

White Ribbon offers the Program at no cost to participants.

Schools wishing to take part the 2016-17 Program should register their interest by 3 June 2016:




In Australia, one in four children are exposed to domestic violence. Exposure to domestic violence is recognised as a form of child abuse.

Domestic and family violence is the principle cause of homelessness for women and their children.

There is an increased risk of mental health, behavioural and learning difficulties from childhood exposure to intimate partner violence.


White Ribbon is the world’s largest movement of men and boys working to end men’s violence against women and girls, promote gender equality, healthy relationships and a new vision of masculinity.

The Vision of White Ribbon Australia (White Ribbon), as part of this global movement, if for a nation that respects women, in which every woman lives in safety, free from all forms of men’s abuse. The purpose is engaging men to make women’s safety a man’s issue too.

White Ribbon works through a primary prevention approach understanding that men are central to achieving the social change necessary to prevent men’s violence against women. We engage men to stand up, speak out and act to influence the actions of some men and demand change.

White Ribbon is dedicated to ensuring men are active advocates for changing the social norms, attitudes and behaviours that are at the root of men’s abuse of women. Through education, awareness-raising and marketing campaigns, partnerships and preventative programs that are independently evaluated, based on best practice and shown to be effective, we are highlighting the positive role men play in preventing men’s violence against women and enabling them to be part of this social change.

In April 2016, 116 schools across New South Wales (71), Victoria (11), Tasmania (5), South Australia (26), and Western Australia (3) completed White Ribbon’s award-winning program.


For media interviews contact Sally Burleigh: and 0419 516 889

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