Q1. "Can I run LOVE BiTES if I haven't been to the TTT training because I missed the training in my community?"
A. This would depend on whether there are other trained workers in your area. If there are trained workers running LOVE BiTES in your community then it is best to speak to the coordinator to ask if you can join their team. If there are no trained workers in your community then please contact the LOVE BiTES team to discuss the possibility of TTT training.
Q2. "Can LOVE BiTES be adapted to fit into another program (we already have a great healthy relationships program in our community) as we'd like to use some of the activities within our existing workshop?"
A. No, generally we would discourage workers from using LOVE BiTES material in other established programs. This is because we have tested and piloted the LOVE BiTES workshops as a whole and can only guarantee their effectiveness if they are used as set out in the manual. It is also essential that the theoretical framework that is utilised by the two programs match so that young people are not left with mixed messages about relationships.
However there can be circumstances when it is appropriate for LOVE BiTES to be adapted for specific communities. If you would like to adapt the LOVE BiTES program please contact the LOVE BiTES team for advice and discussion.
Q3. "Can this program be run with young people who don't attend school? We have a high early school-leaving age in our community and running it in Year 9 or 10 would miss lots of the most vulnerable young people."
A. Yes. The program has been run very successfully in non-school environments (such as within Juvenile Justice, community camps and youth centres). In these cases the program has been adapted in consultation with the LOVE BiTES team to be run over a number of days/weeks with tailored activities. If you would like to find out more about adapting LOVE BiTES for a non-school setting please contact the LOVE BiTES team.
Q4. "Why do you work with boys if you're coming from a feminist perspective?"
A. LOVE BiTES is informed by feminist ideology which clearly identifies relationship violence as a gendered crime. This means that the vast majority of the victims of relationship violence are females and that the vast majority of perpetrators of relationship violence are males. However this does not mean that the majority of males are perpetrators. Some men choose to use violence in their relationships while a majority doesn't.
Gendered violence is caused by a range of social, cultural and individual factors which intersect to create a violent individual. We believe that boys and girls alike deserve to be educated about these mutually reinforcing factors so that they can be empowered to shift social norms towards a more equitable society.
Our belief in contemporary feminist thinking also guides us in including boys (and men) in our work as we believe that working exclusively with girls (and women) perpetuates societies bias that gendered violence is a woman's issue. An exclusive focus on females unduly puts pressure on them to manage the risk of relationship violence which does nothing to challenge or review the underlying social and structural factors causing relationship violence.
Q5. "Can you run LOVE BiTES with single-sex groups? We would like to run it in our school but we're a boy's school."
A. Yes you can. LOVE BiTES has been successfully run in single-sex schools around NSW. While the research evidence isn't clear on the benefit of using single or mixed-gender groups, it has been our experience that both are effective with LOVE BiTES.
There is evidence to suggest that using mixed or single-sex groups does not make a significant difference to the outcomes of prevention programs. In fact it has been suggested that single-sex groups may be more beneficial for some young people as they are more likely to be comfortable and honest in the sessions. However, other research indicates that boys/men benefit from a mixed-gender setting more than girls/women.
The general guide would be to consider the needs and developmental stage of the group of young people you plan on running the program with. Some single-sex schools have run LOVE BiTES in partnership with another single-sex school which has students of the opposite gender. They've run the workshop with some mixed-gender sessions and some single-sex sessions. If you'd like more advice on this please contact the LOVE BiTES team.
Q6: "Why aim at 14 - 16year olds when the age of consent is 16? Do young people really need to know about sex before they're even legally allowed to engage in it?"
A. Research shows that prevention programs run with young people are effective in empowering them with information and skills for making sound decisions in their relationships. There is evidence from a range of sources, including our own anecdotal experience with LOVE BiTES that young people are developmentally ready to learn about dating and relationships from around 14 years, this naturally varies for each individual but is a sufficient guideline. The LOVE BiTES program discusses relationship violence in all its forms and we find that young people are eager to learn about conducting respectful relationships before they reach the legal age of consent. Giving young people a chance to attend a prevention program prior to their first experience of a relationship is essential in equipping them with the skills to navigate their choices in relationships when they enter one.
Q6. "I noticed it says in your material that LOVE BiTES complements the NSW curriculum. Does LOVE BiTES complement an independent or Christian School curriculum?"
A. Yes the LOVE BiTES program is complementary to an Independent or Christian School curriculum. All Schools registered in NSW are required to teach the core curriculum determined by the NSW Board of Studies. However Independent schools teach other modules in their non-core component that public schools may not. Often these schools are influenced by a religious ethos and therefore it would be at the discretion of each individual school to decide whether they find that LOVE BiTES is aligned with their principles and values. The content in LOVE BiTES covers sexual assault and the sexual experiences of young people which may not suit the teaching of all schools.
 Flood, 2009, Respectful Relationships Education.