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Evaluating the impact of the Victorian MoRE Schools Pilot

Jesuit Social Services

This report from Deloitte Access Economics highlights the valuable addition of the Victorian MoRE Schools Pilot in supporting schools to deepen their understanding of the link between healthier masculinities and the prevention of family violence.

 

Jesuit Social Services engaged Deloitte Access Economics to evaluate a pilot of The Men's Project programs in Victorian Respectful Relationships schools. The pilot, commissioned by the Victorian Department of Education, combined Jesuit Social Services' Unpacking the Man Box initiative and Modelling of Respect and Equality (MoRE) program to complement and support the existing Respectful Relationships curriculum that has been taught in primary and secondary settings in Victoria since 2015.

The problem

In Australia, one in four women experience physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner or family member at some point in their life from the age of 15.* Unhealthy views of masculinity can manifest as violence in situations where men are traditionally encouraged to reassert dominance and control. To prevent family violence, we need to challenge and change these attitudes. In this context, the question is raised of how we design and deliver programs that encourage healthy conceptions of gender and relationships, particularly as these attitudes are being developed in the minds of our young people?

The pilot

The Victorian MoRE Schools Pilot was developed to deepen understanding of the link between supporting healthier masculinities and the prevention of family violence, and further embed a whole-school approach to Respectful Relationships. The pilot uses four phases to raise awareness of unhealthy masculinities and their links to gendered violence and support schools to promote healthier masculinities. These phases include partnership building and onboarding of schools, Unpacking the Man Box awareness-raising workshops for all school staff, intensive MoRE two-day training for selected MoRE champions, and ongoing support for six months through the Healthier Masculinities Learning Communities (HMLCs). Across Victoria, 58 schools participated in the pilot.

The findings 

The pilot was evaluated across three key domains: implementation, participation and early outcomes. It also considered how future iterations of the pilot could be improved. The evaluation was guided by research questions under each domain, and informed by stakeholder interviews, surveys, and program data and documentation.

Overall, the pilot was well received by schools, and was implemented responsively and effectively within the Respectful Relationships initiative. It built teachers' knowledge between healthier masculinities and family violence, equipping schools to challenge unhealthy masculinities. Following the Unpacking the Man Box workshops, 72% of participants agreed that the phase 2 workshops deepened their understanding of the link between supporting healthier masculinities and preventing of violence against women. Further, 2 out of 3 MoRE champions intended to make change in their school culture and environment following participation in the two-day MoRE training and HMLCs. The program created a shared language and framework for school staff to conceptualise the 'Man Box' as part of the whole school approach, increasing confidence to challenge unhealthy masculinities expressed by students and colleagues at school.

The next steps 

The pilot has shown that working with large groups to raise awareness, alongside intensive work with selected champions, can lead to greater understanding of the links between unhealthy masculinities and family violence. Other organisations and communities may benefit from using these findings to deliver similar programs in other contexts. The next steps for the pilot are considering methods to refine, grow and embed the program in Victorian schools to magnify impact.


*Australian Bureau of Statistics, Personal Safety Survey, 2021-22.

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