ACC announces schools to pilot 'Mates & Dates'

Image: Jorge Royan

ACC has announced the schools and facilitators that will pilot its new sexual and dating violence prevention programme, 'Mates & Dates.' The programme will be piloted with up to 2000 students during Term 3.

ACC Sexual Violence Prevention Programme Manager, Sandra Dickson, said "The programme will teach students how to have relationships based on respect, negotiation and consent. It will help students to identify inappropriate behaviour, and show them how to get help if they, or someone they know, are in an unhealthy relationship. It will also teach them how and when to safely intervene in a situation that could lead to harm."

The programme consists of five 50-minute classes across year levels. It includes interactive activities such as roleplays, comics and a dissection of Robin Thicke's controversial music video Blurred Lines. The programme addresses friendships and relationships with family and whānau as well as dating relationships.

Ms Dickson said, "There’s already excellent work being done in and by schools in this area. ACC wants to build on and strengthen that work with a multi-year programme based on best practice, which not only increases awareness of sexual and dating violence, but also helps to change behaviour."

The Mates & Dates pilot is part of a new three year programme by ACC aimed at preventing sexual and dating violence. Other prevention initiatives planned include establishing a community coordinator network, developing an evaluation framework to assess the effectiveness of sexual violence prevention programmes, and implementing a social norms campaign.

Ms Dickson said, "We will also continue to contribute to cross-agency efforts to combat sexual violence, explore a new population-based data survey to give us a true picture of the scale and impact of sexual violence in New Zealand, and work to increase the reach of child sexual abuse prevention programmes."

ACC Minister Judith Collins said, "By strengthening efforts across Government we can make a substantial impact on reducing sexual and dating violence behaviours and the harm they cause."

Update:

ACC has published a summary of a series of focus groups and individual interviews held with parents, teachers, guidance counsellors, youth workers, public health nurses and students to inform the development of the programme. The purpose was to find out: "what young people currently know about having healthy relationships, and how to prevent sexual and dating violence; what their experiences have been with learning about similar subjects at school; where else young people are getting information about relationships; and what all groups of people spoken to would like to see being taught on these subjects in schools."

Media:

Sex issues drive pilot programme, The Northern Advocate, 09.12.2014

Romance and sex - ACC gets teens talking about relationships, TVNZ, 26.10.2014

Awareness Building Project to Check Sexual Violence Evokes Good Response in New Zealand Schools, International Business Times Australia, 22.08.2014 

ACC initiative targets sexual violence, Stuff, 20.08.2014

Teaching teens about right sort of love, Wanganui Chronicle, 22.07.2014

Makoura College pilots ACC scheme, Wairarapa Times-Age, 12.07.2014

ACC takes a new line on sexual violence, Stuff, 11.07.2014

Two Kelston schools in ACC's Mates and Dates pilot, Press release: New Zealand National Party, Scoop, 10.07.2014

Mates & Dates will help prevent sexual violence, Beehive: Judith Collins, Scoop, 10.07.2014

Sandra Dickson: Mates & Dates, NewstalkZB, 10.07.2014

Sexual violence initiative hits schools, MSN News, 10.07.2014

Pilot targets sexual violence by teens, NZ City, 10.07.2014

Sexual violence prevention programme tested, NewstalkZB, 10.07.2014

'Mates and Dates' aims to prevent teen sexual violence, TVNZ, 10.07.2014

ACC announces schools in sexual violence prevention pilot, Press release: ACC, Scoop, 10.07.2014

Image: 19th Century Auckland classroom by Jorge Royan Licence: Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons