The QTU, on advice from the Women’s Teachers and Girls Education Committee (WTGEC), is undertaking a unique campaign to address gender-based violence in our workplaces. This campaign is called Expect Respect.

This campaign seeks to:

  • Identify the prevalence of gendered violence in our schools and TAFE campuses (survey to all members 
  • Promote an understanding of gendered violence (GV)
  •  Improve the reporting tools by the employer
  • seek out the experiences of our members in relation to gendered violence.  

Drawing on my experiences as a classroom teacher, a secondary HOD, QTU Organiser and women’s officer of a feminised union I am acutely aware that far too may QTU members have and continue to experience gendered violence (GV) in their workplace. Gendered violence impacts all genders, however non gender conforming people and women are far more likely to experience GV. 

While (sadly and depressingly) most of us recognise that sexual harassment in the workplace is not uncommon (as demonstrated by the Australian Human Rights Commissions Inquiries into Sexual Harassment in Australian workplaces) what I have come to recognise is unique for teachers, that the harassment is often perpetrated by students.  

In my many conversations with QTU members, friends and colleagues I am profoundly disturbed to hear of the extent to which people, mostly women, have been exposed to student-led gendered violence in their workplaces (schools and TAFE).  Compounding the sheer volume of stories is the sickening realisation that too often responses to these incidences are inadequate.  

We hope to examine to what extent this violence and harassment is student driven.   

Penny Spalding

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Expect respect : Addressing gendered violence [GV] at work

So, what is GV?


Victorian Trades Hall Council ‘s Stop Gendered Violence at Work campaign kit describes gendered violence in the following way;

“Gendered Violence (GV) is any action or behaviour that causes physical, sexual, psychological or economic harm to a worker because of their gender, gender identity, sexual orientation or because they do not adhere to dominant gender stereotypes or socially prescribed gender roles.” 

What does GV at work look like? 

GV at work can be both subtle and obvious, and may include:

  • intimidation / bullying 
  • verbal abuse
  • rude gestures
  • put downs 
  • innuendo and insinuations
  •  stalking and intimidation
  • threats
  • ostracism or exclusion
  • offensive language and imagery
  • sexual suggestions and unwanted advances
  • being undermined in your role
  • physical assaulting including sexual assault and rape.
When DV comes to work (when work is at home)



Why gender matters in our schools

The Conversation / Authors Prof. Amanda Keddie and Assoc Prof Debbie Ollis
As the Me Too movement continues its march, an Australian Education Union survey reveals that teachers face extreme levels of sexual harassment in the workplace, often by students. By Clementine Ford.- The Saturday Paper, Edition 246
The edition of Redress includes wonderful insights, stories and practical resources from a range of educators, students and researchers who are working hard to think through issues of gender and social justice in these tumultuous times

Our Watch - A national response to violence against women

Change the story is our national framework for a consistent and integrated approach to preventing violence against women and their children in Australia.
A resource aimed at tackling the horrific prevalence of violence against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.

Australian Human Rights Commission

Australia was once at the forefront of tackling sexual harassment globally. Women’s organisations in Australia began to press for the legal and social recognition of sex discrimination in the early 1970s. States including South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria enacted anti-discrimination laws covering the ground of sex in the late 1970s. In 1984, the Australian Government introduced the Sex Discrimination Act 1984, which specifically prohibited sexual harassment at work and established the role of Australia’s Sex Discrimination Commissioner. Since that time, successive Sex Discrimination Commissioners have identified the elimination of workplace sexual harassment as a key priority. However, over 35 years on, the rate of change has been disappointingly slow. Australia now lags behind other countries in preventing and responding to sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is not a women’s issue: it is a societal issue, which every Australian, and every Australian workplace, can contribute to addressing. Workplace sexual harassment is not inevitable. It is not acceptable. It is preventable.

Education Queensland – Respectful Relationships and sexual harassment

The Respectful relationships education program (RREP) was developed by the Department of Education as part of the broad multi-departmental Queensland Government approach to ending domestic and family violence. The RREP is a Prep to Year 12 primary prevention program focused on influencing behaviour change to prevent undesirable social consequences such as domestic and family violence. This is done through challenging attitudes about violence and gender construction known to lead to violence while also supporting students to develop pro-social behaviours that lead to equitable and respectful relationships. A strengths-based approach underpins the development of respectful relationships knowledge and skills.
Understanding respectful relationships and how to deal with relationship differences. | Information on dating and being in a healthy relationship. | Understand what sexting is and when it becomes image-based abuse.| Find out more about identifying as LGBTIQ+ and working out your sexuality.| The importance of having friends and tips on making new friends.
You are entitled to a safe workplace that respects your rights and the rights of others.
Department of Education policy document
Department of Education policy

Affective intensities of gender transformative work

Affective intensities of gender transformative work / paper co-authored by  Amanda Keddie and  Doris Bartel. - Men and masculinities, 5 June 2020

The authos have  have made the 5 minute video below that encapsulates the main ideas of the paper

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