Expect respect - addressing gendered violence at work

Expect respect  - is the QTU campaign to address gender-based violence in our workplaces.

This campaign seeks to:

  • identify the prevalence of gendered violence in our schools and TAFE campuses.
  • 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.  

About the Expect Respect campaign

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
QTU Women's Officer

What is gendered violence (GV)?

The 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 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 assault including sexual 
  • assault and rape.

QCU Stop Sexual Harassment Campaign


QTU resources

Following a year of national conversation around the issue, ABC Radio Brisbane's School of Hard Talks brought together (in Nov 2021) experts and students to discuss the delivery of consent education in schools, and to allow students to ask the questions they really want answers to.

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

The forum focused on two key methods that can increase the effectiveness of work focused on the prevention of violence against women: 1. working with different stakeholder groups across multiple levels in a community or setting 2. collaboration between organisations. The forum examined these themes through two case studies
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.
Research shows there are clear links between dominant forms and patterns of masculinity and violence against women, and that addressing masculinities and effectively engaging men in prevention efforts is essential to reducing and preventing this violence. The discussion forum focused on the following key themes: • why effectively working with men and addressing masculinities is an important aspect of our national approach to primary prevention • the evidence-based principles that can guide how we do this work • examples of promising practice, including work that centres an intersectional approach.
A summary of two May 2021 National Primary Prevention Hub events hosted in partnership with Ending Violence against Women Queensland 1. A webinar with panel discussions situated primary prevention in the Queensland context. It included a local primary prevention case study (Men4Respect), as well as a best practice primary prevention initiative in Victoria (Preventing Violence Together). 2. An interactive discussion forum was held with practitioners from Queensland to reflect on challenges and opportunities in their work specific to the local context. Participants engaged in breakout rooms to discuss opportunities for primary prevention in Queensland including: – integrating a primary prevention approach in their work – ideas for the future – what needs to change in the Queensland context to enable progress on primary prevention. This paper summarises the case studies and key themes that emerged during both events to promote information and knowledge sharing across the sector
This report is the final evaluation report of a pilot of respectful relationships education in primary schools in Victoria and Queensland.
This policy brief provides guidance to education policy makers and bureaucrats as well as other interested stakeholders on how to design, implement, coordinate and monitor evidence-based respectful relationships education.
Respectful relationships education is a holistic approach to school-based, primary prevention of gender-based violence that aims to comprehensively address the drivers of violence and create a future free from it.
This paper provides a summary of a webinar and online discussion forum hosted by Our Watch as part of the National Primary Prevention Hub (the Hub) in April 2021.
This paper reports on two online events hosted by Our Watch in partnership with Ending Violence against Women Queensland (EVAWQ) on 13 May 2021, as part of the National Primary Prevention Hub.
This paper reports on two events hosted by Our Watch as part of the National Primary Prevention Hub (the Hub) in June 2021 which sought to explore how practitioners across Australia are already doing this vital work, and opportunities to strengthen focus for future efforts.

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

Respect@Work - Australian Human Rights Commission

Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins has today launched Respect@Work, the Australian Human Rights Commission’s report of the National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces…
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…
A message from the Commissioner.
The ACTU has labelled the Morrison Government's legislation arising from the Respect@Work report a "missed opportunity" to deal with sexual harassment and violence at work.
Teachers have been exposed to shocking instances of sexual harassment from their students, and questioned about how they let it happen.

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 authors have  have made a 5 minute video encapsulates the main ideas of the paper:

Where to get assistance if you are experiencing GV issues in the workplace

If you have been impacted at work by GV from a student that you felt was not suitably addressed and wish to share your story, you can do so on our website.

We understand that you may not wish to be identified. It is therefore optional to enter your personal details.  

Tell us your story here >>

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we are ready to help you