July 27th marks the 10th anniversary of the RESPECT program, a music program for boys under 12 years old launched by Outloud, an intersectional, CALD-focused social impact arts organisation that creates meaningful opportunities for young people in Western Sydney. Established in 2013, RESPECT teaches young boys about domestic violence and gender equality, with a view to preventing and reducing domestic violence in the future.
This 12-week early intervention harm reduction project takes place in primary school with facilitators who are also professional musicians, working alongside Family Violence counsellors. Participants write and rehearse an original song, and perform it at their school assembly, and at the annual showcase at Bankstown Central. The songs are also filmed and made into professional music videos.
To celebrate 10 years of RESPECT, Outloud will be holding its first showcase since 2019 at Bankstown Central Shopping Centre. The showcase will feature performances from local schools in the Bankstown LGA, including Revebsy South Public School, Condell Park Public School, Punchbowl Public School and Georges Hall Public School. In addition, it will feature performances from RESPECT alumni and participants of Outloud’s UNITY program. UNITY is an early intervention program empowering girls and gender-diverse young people aged 10-12 with the tools to stand up for their equal rights and build healthy relationships for their future selves and communities.
Craig Taunton, RESPECT Program Manager, commented: “According to the ABS, between March 2021 and May 2022, 2 in 5 women experienced violence, with 1 in 4 women experiencing violence by an intimate partner or family member. As young boys attempt to navigate the constantly shifting physical and digital worlds, it’s critical we have early interventions in place to educate them about healthy relationships and the importance of equality.
“We are incredibly proud to be celebrating 10 years of RESPECT. I’m always in awe of the incredibly moving songs created by our participants and the power of music to affect change in young people. We are thankful for our staff, including the program facilitators, the Bankstown community, and all of our supporters along the way who have contributed to creating a program that is making a real impact on reducing the cycle of violence against women. ”
Each year RESPECT directly works with around 150 boys aged under 12. The project has been assessed by Murdoch University as a model project that leads to long-term change in participants. It has been proven to increase awareness and understanding of domestic violence and healthy relationships in 98% of participants. In addition, 92% of students demonstrated an increased understanding of respectful relationships and equity toward girls and women.
The RESPECT showcase is free to the public and will run from 6-7:30 pm on July 27 at Bankstown Central.