Call to address youth DV rates

By Mitch Gaynor

RATES of domestic violence against young people are becoming more frequent and must be addressed, a top lawyer who addressed Maleny school students, said.

Adair Donaldson specialises in talking to NRL clubs and businesses about sex education, consent and harassment.

He was invited to present to Maleny sporting groups, business and school children by domestic violence prevention group Speak Up Now.

Speaking to the Maleny Chamber of Commerce, Adair said he was particularly concerned that as he visited schools there was a considerable increase in questions and conversations about coercive control.

“The rates with respect to domestic violence are becoming younger,” he told guests at the chamber breakfast.

“What came as a surprise is when I go to schools young women have been coming up and talking about coercive relationships.

“A young woman will say to me that a friend has broken up with her boyfriend who has bombarded her with messages.  This should not be her problem.

“We have to have these conversations or it’s going to keep on happening.”

Speaking to  Year 11s and 12s at Maleny High School he gave a message to students about respectful relationships. Speak Up Now’s Val France said she was impressed with the assertiveness of year 12s.

“We had some great interactive sessions with students, and the year 12s especially were very clear on right and wrong,” Val said.

Adair’s presentations coincided with Speak Up Now’s launch of its new booklet, Dating Without Violence, which aims to teach teens and families about identifying and dealing with destructive relationships.

“With domestic and famly violence, you have to get kids to understand these scenarios while they’re young,” Val said.

“The booklet demonstrates what is a healthy and unhealthy relationship, so when they begin their dating journey they have a bit of forewarning.”

The booklet is available to students and community members and will also be available at hairdressers and barbers who have completed the Hairdressers with Hearts training.