Breaking the Silence Schools Program: Implementation
The Breaking the Silence Schools Program acknowledges that each school and community is unique. As such, implementation should be tailored to the context, culture and specific needs of your school. As a supportive framework, Breaking the Silence will enable you to build on and integrate with student well-being initiatives already underway.
Culture Change is a Marathon, Not a Sprint
For schools engaged with Breaking the Silence the first year is an opportunity to raise awareness and lay the foundations for a sustainable positive culture of change throughout the whole school and broader community through a whole school approach.
Keep it simple at first, raise the topic of respectful relationships and ending men’s violence against women, and girls; in meetings, through the use of banners and posters. The White Ribbon symbol is very powerful and has strong brand recognition Australia wide (75%). As your school progresses you could consider murals and respect poles, painted stairs the possibilities are endless.
BtS Curriculum Integration
Rather than simply adding violence prevention to the school curriculum, Breaking the Silence provides a framework to embed respectful relationships across the whole of school and strengthen cultures of respect. An example of this supportive rather than additive approach was Miranda Public School addressing the topic of domestic violence as part of their visual library implementation.
Host and Event or Fundraiser
Organising an event can be a powerful and engaging way of bringing staff, students, families and the wider community together around the issues of preventing men’s violence against women and girls through an emphasis on respectful relationships. Staff and students can work together to organise an event, neighbouring schools can collaborate on activities, and there is a positive opportunity for students of all genders to work together. White Ribbon also promotes strong student leadership opportunities, this creates a culture of ownership amongst students in White Ribbon schools and sends a powerful message amongst peer-groups that men’s violence against women will not be tolerated.