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The Importance of a Youth Safety Focus

Schools are an excellent place to provide students with positive messages and skills to help them make good decisions about their behaviour. Students who have a range of options to effectively and confidently respond to conflict and make good choices about their behaviour are in an excellent position to avoid situations which may place them at risk.

It is essential that schools provide a clear message to the community that violence is not tolerated in schools. By focussing on a positive school environment that promotes youth safety the number of violent incidents should ultimately be reduced.

The climate or social and learning environment of the secondary school is important, not just because young people spend so much time there, but also because it provides the major setting in which young people develop new and different relationships with peers and adults. A sense of belonging to both family and school are the major protective factors against health risk behaviours in young people.

The Gatehouse Project (Centre of Adolescent Health 2002)

There are a number of options available to assist schools who are interested in building safe and supportive environments as a way of promoting youth safety. Teachers can also contribute to the social and emotional learning of students through incorporating programs and activities into the curriculum that support social skill development.

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