NEW Love Bites Senior Resources: Response to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities

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NAPCAN is pleased to announce a new set of Love Bites resources and facilitator training that have been co-designed with the Aboriginal community in South West Sydney.

NAPCAN is committed to bringing culturally responsive and accessible respectful relationships education to every young person in every community, as a way to create a healthier safer society for all, now and in the future.

Importantly, we understand that every community is expert in the needs of the local young people.

Background of this project:

This project builds on NAPCAN’s continuing work across Australia, to learn from local people about the ways that Love Bites can best be delivered in their communities.

Thanks to seed funding from Run Against Violence, and a grant from the NSW Ministry of Health, NAPCAN has partnered with the South Western Sydney local health district and local people to explore ways that Love Bites can be adapted to meet the needs of NSW Aboriginal communities.

In consultation with Karen Beetson, Deputy Director of Aboriginal Health South Western Sydney Local Health District, the co-design process was founded on mutual respect and listening deeply to the voices of Aboriginal community workers.

The co-design process included:

  • Delivering the existing 2-day Love Bites senior facilitator program to local Aboriginal representatives to ensure a common understanding of the content and approach. Although the content delivered was the standard program, the approach was altered to ensure meaningful time was allocated to cultural considerations. Considerable focus and time was given to centring cultural practices and cultural safety in the facilitation process.
  • A third day was held as an ‘adaptation’ session to identify the areas of the program that could be adjusted and refined for local Aboriginal communities. The process of learning and exploration incorporated cultural ceremony, yarning circles, and opportunities for reflection and healing around the issues raised by the Love Bites content.
  • An additional follow-up workshop day was held to allow participants to provide considered feedback after having a chance to integrate and reflect on their experiences and to discuss and review the Love Bites materials.
  • From the workshop feedback, NAPCAN continued to work closely with Karen Beetson, meeting in person and online over several months to equally collaborate, and share learnings and understandings to create this program.

Key insights from the co-design and community engagement process

  • It is critical to understand the differences between communities and not assume that there can be one ‘Aboriginal adaptation’ applicable to all groups, given the diversity of Aboriginal nations, including within NSW.
  • Given the diversity of nations, proper pre-engagement will be necessary before delivery into any community.
  • Start the program by addressing intergenerational & transgenerational trauma.
  • Incorporate cultural practices. These practices are about an exchange of energy and are fundamentally about healing.
  • Support young people learning to reflect on what violence/respect/disrespect are.
  • Take an adaptable, flexible approach in relation to the time needed to deliver the program.

How the new resources have been enhanced

Love Bites consists of interactive activities around relationship violence and aims to build young people’s knowledge on the evidence, myths and facts about physical, emotional and sexual violence and consent. The program also seeks to equip them with the skills and capacities to create respectful relationships, including how to safely demonstrate upstander behaviours.

The new resources use the existing framework of Love Bites while adding flexibility and options for local Aboriginal communities. Importantly, based on the extensive co-design process:

  • It was determined that a multi-lesson approach was the most appropriate format. This allows time to properly use this pedagogical approach through narrative-driven learning, visualised learning processes, hands-on/reflective techniques, use of symbols/metaphors, land-based learning, indirect/synergistic logic, modelled/scaffolded genre mastery, and connectedness to community.
  • The content follows a culturally grounded approach with learnings from Aboriginal pedagogy, specifically the 8 Ways of Aboriginal Learning.
  • The adapted lesson plans will include new activities and scenarios including a co-designed video that captures recognisable behaviours, allowing for students to reflect on the situation and consider if they have seen such scenarios in their own lives or communities.

It’s an honour to launch the program on Close the Gap Day, and to recognise that together, we can achieve a fairer, healthier society when Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have a genuine say in all policies, programs and services. For more information about the launch see the media release from the South Western Sydney Local Health District Media Unit.

More information:

At this stage, a limited amount of workshops are being offered to introduce the adapted package and we are developing a waitlist of interested people and organisations. If you’re interested in NAPCAN’s Love Bites program and the recent adaptations for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, please contact madelene.mcgrath@napcan.org.au.

For more information about the existing Love Bites program and how to become a trained facilitator visit our Love Bites training calendar.

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