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Teens and runners paving the way to prevent sexual assault and family violence. 

  • Ally
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From a lone woman running across the outback to a group of coastal teens creating a hip hop song, the aim is the same: let’s get everyone in Australia talking about family violence and what it means to have a healthy relationship.

Run Against Violence has recently joined forces with the National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (NAPCAN) to help ensure that every teenager in Australia has the opportunity to learn about what healthy relationships look like for them.

NAPCAN’s Deputy CEO, Leesa Waters, said, “We are very excited to have the support of Run Against Violence in our work. Both our organisations are particularly concerned about the impacts of violence on children. Both our organisations believe that we all have a part to play. And both our organisations believe that educating young people is key for short and long term change.And both our organisations believe that young people hold the key to short and long term change.

When we look at the damage that sexual assault and family violence causes, it’s clear that the focus needs to be on prevention. We need to stop this before it happens.

“RAV will be supporting us with funds to enhance and expand our Love Bites Program. The work will include the development of tools to help measure the impact of our programs, as well as a grants program to help expand the program into communities that don’t have adequate funds to train their Love Bites facilitators.”

Although NAPCAN runs Love Bites on a simple cost-recovery basis, the sustainability of the program relies heavily on the passion in the community to keep it going.

It is often the areas in most need that struggle to raise the funds to train facilitators particularly if they are in rural or regional areas where it can be difficult to even get to the training, and where there can be high staff turnover. The funding from RAV will be a huge boost for some of these areas.

“Love Bites is an innovative respectful relationships education program that gives Australia’s young people the opportunity to have frank and open conversations about what healthy relationships look like, what red and green flags look like, what consent looks like, and much much more.”

The program is delivered in safe interactive environments by highly trained facilitators from outside of the school – usually people who are already skilled at talking about these challenging topics including, such as sexual assault workers, domestic violence professionals, youth and social workers, or Police.

It’s different to other school-based programs because it really delves into the serious conversations and links young people to external support systems. Most importantly, it doesn’t ‘teach lessons’; instead, it facilitates conversations so that young people can think about what a healthy relationship might mean for them and what boundaries they feel comfortable with.

Adults will often say that they wished they had known these things when they were young.

The program also encourages the students to create artwork and hip hop songs to share the knowledge they have gained, and these are then promoted to bring the conversations into the broader community.

Our work is all about creating a whole-of-community network of people committed to preventing violence, and this partnership with RAV is a great example of the power of working together.

The importance of these sorts of partnerships have been highlighted in a sad and shocking way with the recent petition from former Sydney student, Chanel Contos, who is calling for more consent education in schools with the https://www.teachusconsent.com/ petition. Reading the 1000s of testimonies of school-based sexual assault is a harrowing reminder of the importance of programs like Love Bites.

Last year, Run Against Violence raised $120K and it was spent as follows:

  • $35K Social Impact Measurement toolkit

  • $45K Love Bites Grants

  • $40K back into RAV to growth projects

The reason RAV has joined forces with NAPCAN and the Love Bites program:

  • Long track record of success

  • Outstanding reputation within the community

  • Outstanding governance and accountability structures

  • Alignment of our missions and areas of focus

  • National coverage including rural and remote communities

  • The level of impact that our investment would have – it will have a measurable, broad reaching impact in the prevention of FV

NAPCAN thanks RAV for their generous funding and looks forward to promoting – and participating in – the https://www.runagainstviolence.com/2021-virtual-challenge.

The Runners Against Violence are an inspiration to all of us that we can work together to prevent family violence and that we can all play a part.