Understanding your students' context

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse recommended that organisations such as schools pay particular attention to the needs of children and young people of CALD backgrounds.

The commission made the following points in relation to these students and their families.

  • Primary prevention initiatives (such as respectful relationships education) 'must be delivered in accessible ways for different cultural contexts, languages and religious settings'.
  • The commission was advised that there can be limited understanding of child sexual abuse and child protection systems among communities from CALD backgrounds, especially for people who have recently arrived in Australia.
  • Respectful relationships education curriculum in some states emphasises that culturally sensitive approaches to child protection 'should not outweigh or compromise the safety and wellbeing of children and young people'.

The topics and activities within respectful relationships education demand an understanding of the particular needs and contexts of your students and their communities. The subject matter of respectful relationships education potentially facilitates student disclosures of violence or abuse. Many parents lack knowledge and resources to educate their children in relation to harmful sexual behaviours. Some parents have misconceptions about age-appropriate sexual development (with potential ramifications in terms of understanding and supporting school curriculum).

How well-prepared is your school for this work?


This overview presents a synopsis of the latest published research examining violence against women in Australia and its prevention.


This 2015 report Reducing violence against women and their children describes some of the barriers to changing behaviours and attitudes with specific information pertaining to cultural and ethnic groups.

Classroom resources

Find resources designed to be used with students of CALD backgrounds.

Respectful relationships education uses a strengths-based approach with all students. It is about capacity building, which involves:

  • building relationships
  • valuing difference
  • acknowledging strengths
  • participating in collaboration
  • being able to recover from adversity.