Community against violence
Violence is a community issue and we all want it to stop.
Whether it happens in someone’s home, school, workplace, sporting field or in a public space, violence is always unacceptable.
We understand from talking with students, staff and the community that ending violence is something people want. By working together, we can support each other to create change.
One way we can make a difference is by talking about violence and how we can all play a part to prevent it from happening.
The role of schools
School communities play an important role. Together, school staff, students and their families teach children and young people about appropriate behaviour, provide opportunities for them to examine and challenge social norms, and provide learning environments that promote positive and respectful relationships.
School staff work with their communities to foster and maintain a culture of positive behaviour, respect and unity, and address any incidents of violence.
In WA, students learn about respectful relationships as part of the curriculum. They learn:
- what behaviour is and is not appropriate
- how to build respectful, reciprocal relationships
- how they can respond to, or challenge, disrespectful attitudes and behaviours.
Sadly, violence in the home is a reality for some students. One in four children is exposed to domestic violence. Teachers discuss respectful relationships in the context of family and domestic violence prevention, and schools take a whole school approach to this issue.
Unfortunately, there are a few students who intentionally harm or intimidate other students and/or staff members. They are in the minority, but their actions can have a significant impact on those targeted and others in their school community.
The following measures are in place to help school staff to respond to situations where students are intentionally violent:
- automatic suspension of students who intentionally attack or instigate a fight with another student or film a fight between students
- automatic move to exclude students who intentionally harm school staff
- alternative learning settings for identified excluded students and/or the most violent students where they will be provided with an intensive, individualised program of support to effect positive and lasting change in their behaviour
- advice, training and support for school staff in relation to responding to aggressive behaviour and identifying what actions are appropriate and reasonable
- changes to schools’ behaviour policies to ensure students are accountable for their behaviour.
The role of communities
Western Australians want to see change and it is possible to get involved and make that change happen. Community organisations, businesses, leaders and members can join in this call for change by:
- publicly speaking out against violence and advocating for change
- following us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and sharing our posts
- creating your own social media posts to promote respectful behaviours
- supporting their local school and community
- funding or resourcing support services
- partnering with agencies, universities and researchers to develop strategies to address violence
- sponsoring campaigns against violence
- displaying physical or digital posters in your workplace or around the community.
Support the campaign
The Voices Against Violence campaign is now running across WA on radio, digital channels, social media, bus shelters, in shopping centres, in-school posters, and in newspapers.
The campaign was informed by consultation with young people, parents, community members and school staff. It is part of the Department’s action plan to address violence in schools and is designed to encourage discussion about violence in the community.
Below are some campaign materials you could use to help spark a conversation in your community, workplace or home.
Social media tiles
- Silence fuels violence. Speak out against fighting.
- Talk it out. Don't fight it out.
- Fighting isn't normal. There are other choices.