Headspace Bundaberg is looking to sink its teeth into the important lessons of Love Bites with young people in the region.
The NAPCAN developed Love Bites program helps services such as headspace Bundaberg bring attention to some of the most important conversations young people need to have around navigating relationships.
The respectful relationships program breaks down the key themes of respect, consent, friendship, communication, the law, and abuse factors, specifically domestic and family violence and sexual assault.
Community and youth engagement officer at headspace Bundaberg, Cristel Simmonds, is a facilitator of the interactive Love Bites program and looks forward to hosting the full-day workshop each school holidays for young people.
“The conversations we have when hosting Love Bites are fantastic, they are youth led and collaborative, so we all get a chance to break down the stigma that can occur in relationships and that can often times unfold into abuse,” she said.
“All young people should be offered the opportunity to discuss these topics, to better understand the attitudes and behaviours of others and look to answer questions around what is a healthy relationship, what is consent, what is OK and not OK, when does a person’s actions cross the line, and how can we help each other and become active bystanders if we see abuse.
“Ultimately, everyone deserves to feel safe, and with understanding and awareness, we can all be a voice for our community. At the end of our Love Bites sessions, we reflect on the lessons learnt throughout the day, then delve into some art expression to share these key messages.
“There are a number of trained Love Bites facilitators in Bundaberg who work in services that support young people, like Phoenix House, Uniting Care Community, QClinic, Youth Justice, IMPACT Community Services, and together we share the program with as many young people as possible,” she said.
Ben Porter from Phoenix House has been regularly attending high schools to deliver the program.
“It’s such an important message for our younger teenagers as it prepares and exposes them to a life outside of school. It looks at how a loving consensual relationship should be,” he said.
The overall aims of the program are to equip young people with the knowledge needed to have respectful relationships, encourage and develop their skills in critical thinking and assist them in being able to problem solve and communicate effectively.
When equipped in these areas, NAPCAN believes that young people can make the right choices for themselves and their relationships that are free from violence and abuse.
Headspace Bundaberg is holding a Love Bites session on Thursday, 30 September, 9am to 2pm, for young people aged 12-25 years. An RSVP is essential, contact headspace on 4152 3931.