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Important Information Regarding Respectful Relationships and the Safety of Your Child

23 April 2021 by

Dear Parent/Guardian,

In recognition of events currently in the media, please read the following information outlining MacKillop College’s considered response.

Respectful relationships are not only at the core of Catholic values and teachings, but are a necessary element of a proper functioning society. Developing young adults who respect each other’s fundamental rights is central to our aims as a school community.

Issues of consent, sexual assault and gender inequality are critically important. Our school, in partnership with parents/guardians, has an important role to play in addressing this significant social issue.

MacKillop College stands against gendered violence. The testimonies provided by current and former school students across the country reinforce the need to support students to build and manage safe and respectful relationships.

We utilise a range of programs to help form appropriate interpersonal behaviours and respectful attitudes among the student cohort, as enshrined in gospel values.

We teach respectful relationships education as part of the Victorian Curriculum, which focuses on building students’ social and emotional skills by supporting them to recognise and regulate emotions, develop empathy for others, and build and manage safe and respectful relationships (including understanding consent). Our school provides sexuality education as part of the Health and Physical Education curriculum and respectful relationships are also taught within components of our Religious Education curriculum and our Wellbeing Programs. In 2020, our Health and Physical Education curriculum was audited to ensure that our respectful relationships curriculum reflects current priorities and going forward, we will continue to review, reflect and respond to the issues of our time.

MacKillop College takes sexual assault allegations very seriously. We respond to any disclosures in an appropriate and supportive manner. Any allegations are acted upon quickly by following our procedures for responding to suspicions of abuse and assault. We report allegations of sexual assault to Victoria Police and Child Protection in accordance with cross-sector education protocols documented within PROTECT: Four Critical Actions for Schools: Responding to Incidents, Disclosures and Suspicions of Child Abuse and PROTECT: Identifying and Responding to Student Sexual Offending.

In keeping with existing practices, we will provide support to any students who are victim-survivors of sexual assault. Students can receive support from staff working within the Wellbeing Team – Year Level Leaders, Directors of Student Wellbeing, any one of the of School Counsellors and Anna Marazita, Deputy Principal – Student Wellbeing.

If you have any questions or concerns, or wish to discuss something that has happened, please  contact your child’s homeroom teacher, Year Level Leader, or one of the College’s designated Child Safety Officers:

  • Andrew Exton
  • Anna Marazita
  • Caroline Moon
  • Jacqueline Plochino
  • Mark Westgarth

As a parent/guardian, if you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault and needs support,  please contact 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit https://1800respect.org.au.

You can also access help through:

Students can access help through:

All of us, from parents/guardians as first educators, to school teachers and leaders, to system and sector leaders, must work together to do all we can to address this issue and prevent future harm to any  young person.

Critically, we must empower the young people in our care to participate in what must become an ongoing conversation on the efficacy of existing school respectful relationships programs, and the priority they are given in schools and among school communities.

As a Catholic school, we take these matters extremely seriously and will work with students, parents/guardians and our local community to support education programs in this critical area of student safety.

Kind regards,
Rory Kennedy
Principal

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