Zonta Clubs across the Sunshine Coast are hoping to introduce a revolutionary program that promotes non-violent relationships into a majority of high schools in the region.
It comes as community groups prepare to celebrate White Ribbon Day tomorrow, the international day for the elimination of violence against women.
Zonta Caloundra’s Marilyn Holness said the Love Bites program is a well-recognised initiative that enables young people to identify healthy and unhealthy relationships.
“The course is designed for Year 11 students who are just commencing relationships and it highlights things like preventative domestic violence issues,” Ms Holness said.
“It also talks about consent and what consent is, which is a real eye opener for a lot of young people.”
The program, first established in New South Wales, is being rolled out across selected schools in Queensland.
Statistics* show 40 per cent of all women have experienced violence since the age of 15.
Nambour High School recently held a Love Bites day for 350 students, and schools in Caloundra and Kawana have expressed interest.
Member for Caloundra and Shadow Health Minister Mark McArdle, who was a past family law solicitor, said domestic violence was not just physical, but also emotional.
“Sadly, domestic violence covers all relationships, affects a lot of people and that is why it is imperative to start education at a young age,” Mr McArdle said.
“We must not forget the severe and long-term impact violence in relationships has on children as well.
“I would ask every resident on the Sunshine Coast tomorrow to take a moment to talk to their families, friends and neighbours to talk about the importance of White Ribbon Day and put the spotlight on this issue.”
Mr McArdle will attend a White Ribbon Day function at Rumba Resort, Caloundra, tomorrow from 6.30-8.30pm.
Key instructors from the Love Bites program and students from Nambour High School will also attend.