A new partnership with the Office for Women will allow the Port Adelaide Football Club to expand its highly regarded education programs surrounding respectful relationships.

The initiative will build on the success of the club’s Power to End Violence Against Women and Empowered programs which have been developed in conjunction with Centacare Catholic Family Services and the Department for Education.

Both programs will now see up to 500 Aboriginal secondary school students across the state learning important lessons to help break the cycle of violence against women.

Young women in the program will participate in workshops aimed to promote leadership and a positive sense of self and identity.

Young men have the opportunity to learn how to be active bystanders and challenge assumptions about gender roles and stereotypes.

The General Manager of Port Adelaide’s not-for-profit community arm Power Community Limited, Jake Battifuoco said the expansion will provide opportunities to facilitate conversations between young Aboriginal people on respectful relationships and to better understand the underlying drivers of violence.

“Through our Santos Aboriginal Power Cup, we’ve already shown positive outcomes in school retention, attitudes to education, and school behaviours for young Aboriginal people and now the Respectful Relationships programs will add to that good work,” he said.

The Office for Women is investing $50,000 in the partnership, with funding coming from the Federal Government’s National Partnership on COVID-19 Domestic and Family Violence Responses.

The Minister for Human Services Michelle Lensink said the Respectful Relationships program would deliver culturally appropriate programs to prevent violence against women.

“The South Australian Government is proud to partner with Port Adelaide, who this year, have already worked with almost 20,000 students in their life changing community programs,” Minister Lensink said.

“Three in five Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have experienced physical or sexual violence by a male intimate partner, with young women aged 18 to 24 experiencing significantly higher rates of physical and sexual violence than older groups. This must stop.

“That’s why the Respectful Relationships program is designed to work in a culturally appropriate way to intervene early and break the cycle of violence before it’s too late.”

Regional and metropolitan schools across the state will take part in the program, including schools at Port Pirie, Whyalla, Port Augusta, Port Lincoln, the Adelaide Hills, Central Yorke, South East, Far North, Riverland, Ceduna, and Murray Bridge.

The program will run throughout the second half of the school year and into early 2022.