Friday, 29 January 2016

Love Bites - an ‘in school’ violence prevention program

David Morrison, the Australian of the year, 2016, has already used this role to advocate for women’s rights and issues of gender. Despite being a white male, he is tipped to champion this issue and domestic violence vigorously. He’ll be continuing to hold the raise the profile of domestic violence following Rosie Batty’s advocacy over the previous year.

With Rosie Batty, Australian of the year in 2015, conversations about Domestic and Family Violence were on everyone’s agenda. Government (Federal and State) changed their policies; budgets for domestic violence increased, and the country's first dedicated domestic violence minister was appointed promising to shift the government's focus to preventing violence rather than "picking up the broken pieces after a tragedy".


In 2015 NSW legislation changed making it mandatory for NSW schools to include domestic and family violence (DFV) and sexual assault education at the schools to years 7-10.

Love Bites is an ‘in school’ violence prevention program which has been around for almost 7 years now and has been implemented in schools all around Australia. 

The program logic is based on empirical research outlining that all youth experience the same issues regardless of socio-economics, culture, and background. However delivery of the program itself can be flexible. It can be customised according to specific cultural needs/values, and /OR issues pertaining specifically to a school; yet the key messages, inherently stay the same. JewishCare’s DV caseworker, Rada Pantzer said “I first came across this program a couple of years ago. The Eastern Suburbs Domestic Violence network had already started rolling this program out to public schools in the East. As a DV caseworker and counsellor I could see the value in its messages as well as the content covered. It is so important to inform young people about relationships; what is healthy and what it is not …. Before attitudes and beliefs become entrenched and more difficult to change. Love Bites is a program that aims to challenge and help change attitudes and social norms that perpetuate abuse. And so, with the help of JAAFV, we successfully lobbied the Jewish Schools to take on Love Bites for 2016.”

In 2015, JewishCare successfully piloted Love Bites at The Emanuel School. The program was well received with 97% of year 10-12 students students reporting that they learnt something new. Students mostly liked the facts and discussion of the law, the movies, opinion sharing, and the knowledge of the speakers.

In 2016, JewishCare in conjunction with The Jewish Alliance Against Family Violence (JAAFV) will be delivering Love Bites to Moriah, The Emanuel School, Reddam, and Rose Bay Secondary College.

This day program focuses on DFV and sexual abuse, awareness, and prevention. The aim of this program is to challenge common attitudes and social norms that perpetuate abuse and includes pertinent information about technological abuse and the misuse of smartphones.

JewishCare invites all parents of school children from Year 7 and above to attend an information evening on Tuesday 15th March 2016 at JewishCare, 3 Saber Street Woollahra to find what it’s all about.

What will be covered?

• Technological abuse including Sexting and other cyber safety issues with Smartphone Use.

• Crossing the Line -  what can be done, who to talk to,  and how to help your child

• Consent -  what does this mean for a 15-16 year old

• How to engage your children in prickly conversations around relationships, keeping safe, and staying in control

• How the program will challenging common attitudes & social norms that perpetuate abuse

Technological abuse (particularly in our young generation) is on the rise and is a new platform for violence. Almost everyone has a smartphone, our children are sending photos to each other, posting comments, pics, and videos online every day, it’s their way of communicating and socialising. Young people are often completely unaware how their smartphone usage and cyber activity can go terribly wrong. In some cases their actions are even breaking the law, and they can be charged for their crimes.

Love Bites programs are facilitated by local Police, youth, community, and health workers. The aim of this program is to challenge attitudes, beliefs, and misconceptions, and prevent situations like Nicky and Kyle (case study below):

Case Study:

Ashamed, confused and feeling violated, Nicky, 15 is embarrassed. She is wondering what happened, how did things get so out of hand.

Nicky’s boyfriend Kyle asked her to send a sexy photo of herself to him via snapchat. She did. But then things went terribly wrong ... that ‘sexy’ photo meant for her boyfriend’s eye’s only, was soon circulated around the school, and the world.

What happened ... Kyle (her boyfriend) took a screen shot of the photo and showed his best friend, Dan. Dan grabbed the phone from Kyle and re-sent it to some other mates, thinking it would be funny. Before long everyone had seen it, including Nicky’s parents.

In 2016, Love Bites will be delivered to Jewish and other Independent schools in the Eastern Suburbs; including Moriah, The Emanuel School and Reddam.

For more information about Love Bites, or our information evening, or if you have any domestic violence concerns please call JewishCare on 1300 133 660. 

From resource: