It Stops Here: #UMATTER

What is It Stops Here: #UMATTER?

This project promotes respectful relationships for Aboriginal girls and boys in secondary schools throughout NSW and is funded by the NSW Government.

Attitudes and behaviours that lead to domestic violence and family violence can be expressed online and on social media as well as in individual and peer group relationships.

The project is designed to enhance students’ understanding of what kinds of behaviour are unacceptable, and what can be done to respond to forms of unacceptable behaviour.

It Stops Here encourages students to examine and reflect on their own behaviour and experiences, identify unacceptable forms of behaviour, and gain confidence to seek help when victimised.

It Stops Here: #UMATTER will assist in contributing to the social attitudinal and behavioural change necessary to prevent domestic and family violence against women, especially Indigenous women and girls. The project will also raise awareness of abusive relationships and support girls to develop healthy relationships in person and on social media, online and in mobile phone interactions.

Project aims

The project aims to:

  • Address the attitudes and behaviours that can lead to domestic and family violence against women, especially Indigenous women
  • Raise awareness of abusive relationships and behaviours/attitudes that are unacceptable (especially behaviours exhibited online) amongst young people, parents and teachers
  • Support young people, particularly girls, in developing healthy and respectful relationships in person and online.

What the research says

It Stops Here: #UMATTER is informed by research that indicates many young people are unaware of or confused about the nature and extent of domestic and family violence in Australia; the kinds of attitudes and behaviours that contribute to the normalisation of violence in relationships; the most appropriate ways to challenge these kinds of behaviours, and where to seek help where necessary.

The White Ribbon Foundation has surveyed over 3000 young people across Australia regarding their attitudes to domestic and family violence. These findings affirm the need to educate young people on respectful relationships, acceptable and unacceptable behaviours in personal relationships and appropriate ways to seek help. A snapshot of these findings shows that:

  • 76% of young people believe that domestic violence is common in Australia, but they have difficulty understanding what behaviours are normal and what domestic violence means.
  • Most young people learn about domestic violence from the media – less than half of young people interviewed received information on domestic violence at school.
  • Young men are more likely than young women to agree with statements that affirm gender stereotypes and attitudes that support gendered violence. For instance:
    • 1 in 4 young men agreed that “girls like guys who are in charge of the relationship”
    • 1 in 6 young men believed that “men are usually better at more things than women”
    • 1 in 7 young men agreed with the statement “Men are supposed to be the head of the household and take control of the relationship”.

Similar findings have been affirmed in the 2013 National Community Attitudes towards Violence Against Women Survey, indicating the prevalence of concerning attitudes amongst young people regarding domestic violence and respectful relationships. For instance, the survey found that:

  • While 98% of young people recognise that partner violence is against the law, young people are less likely to recognise non-physical (rather than physical) behaviours as violence against women
  • 26% of young people agree that partner violence can be excused if the perpetrator regrets the violence
  • Nearly 1 in 4 young people believe that domestic violence is a “personal matter” that should be handled within the family
  • 22% of young people believe that a man should take control in the relationship
  • Only 54% of young people would know where to get help for a problem about violence against women.

The project is also informed by research that affirms the need for cyber-bullying, particularly against young Indigenous Australians and young women specifically, to be addressed. Why? Because research says that:

  • Social media is an increasingly common means of communication for young people – bringing with it good and bad. As of June 2015 80% of all Australian teens use a smartphone to go online (ACMA 2016)
  • In addition, social media is extremely common amongst Indigenous people, once again with positive and negative consequences. Approximately 42% of Australia’s overall Indigenous population use Facebook (Callinan, Tara 2014 (SBS))
  • Cyber-bullying is a gendered form of abuse with victims predominantly being female.
  • A significant proportion of reported cyber-bullying incidents – up to one-third – are cases involving “sexual cyber-bullying”.
  • In 81% of sexual cyber-bullying incidents, the victim is female and perpetrator is male.


  • Research on youth exposure to, and management of cyberbullying incidents in Australia Part B: Cyberbullying incidents involving Australian minors, the nature of the incidents and how they are currently being dealt with. 92, Prepared for: Australian Government Department of Communications June 2014 Matthew Keeley, Ilan Katz, Shona Bates, Melissa Wong, UNSW Social Policy Research Centre
  • Victorian Health Promotion Foundation’s Summary of Findings Report of the 2013 National Community Attitudes towards Violence Against Women Survey
  • Youth Action 2015, Young People’s Attitudes to Domestic, Family and Teen Dating Violence: Youth Action and White Ribbon Research Snapshot, prepared by Jacqui McKenzie
  • Cale, J. and Breckenridge, J. (2015) Gender, Age and the Perceived Causes, Nature and Extent of Domestic and Dating Violence in Australian Society, Gendered Violence Research Network, UNSW Australia

This rise in the sexual victimisation of girls by boys through the use of online and social media platforms indicates the emergence of a new, technology-driven form of gendered violence – and as such, should be challenged.

What is a respectful relationship?

These are some of the factors young people involved in the It Stops Here program have identified as being part of a respectful relationship. What do you think?

  • Being fair
  • Talking and listening to each other
  • Making sure you and your partner feel safe
  • Not being judgemental
  • Valuing opinions
  • Supporting each other in your goals
  • Respecting each other’s rights to your own feelings, activities and opinions
  • Admitting when you are wrong
  • Supporting each other and boosting each other’s confidence
  • Making decisions together
  • Problem solving together
  • Accepting changes

Schools visited so far

Throughout 2015/2016, the It Stops Here project has been facilitated in the following schools:

  • Wellington High School
  • Wilcannia High School
  • Chifley College – Bidwill Campus

The project will visit several more schools in regional NSW throughout 2017.

Image Gallery

Photo: Male Chifley College students attending the It Stops Here #UMATTER training with Kyle Hawthorn, male mentor (front row, in centre) and Doug Parsons, Chifley College Clontarf Academy Operations Officer (front row, to left)





Ms Regina Murphy (left), Wilcannia Central School Aboriginal Educational Officer and Ms Vickie Fair, Women’s Legal Service NSW Indigenous Women’s Legal Program/It Stops Here #UMATTER coordinator, Wilcannia High School 2016.

From left to right: Mr Ashby (Wilcannia Central School Primary School teacher), Ms Regina Murphy (Wilcannia High School Aboriginal Education Officer), Uncle Sunny (Wilcannia High School Aboriginal Education Officer) and unnamed Wilcannia High School teacher

“Messages of Strength”, a resource used in the It Stops Here project, that has been created by Wilcannia High School students.

Support services for young Indigenous women

Legal Services for Women and Girls

Women’s Legal Service NSW Advice Line

Sydney: (02) 8745 6988
Rural: 1800 801 501
Advice Line hours: Monday 9.30am – 12.30pm, Tuesday 1.30 – 4.30pm, Thursday 9.30am – 12.30pm

Indigenous Women’s Legal Advice Line

Sydney: (02) 8745 6977
Rural: 1800 639 784
Advice Line hours: Monday, Tuesday and Thursday 10.00am – 12.30pm

Domestic Violence Legal Service Advice Line

Sydney (02) 8745 6999
Rural: 1800 810 784
Advice Line hours: Monday 1.30 – 4.30pm, Tuesday 9.30am – 12.30pm, Thursday 1.30 – 4.30pm, Friday 9.30am – 12.30pm

Wirringa Baiya Aboriginal Women’s Legal Centre Advice Line

Sydney: (02) 9569 3847
Rural (NSW only): 1800 686 587
Advice Line hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 9.30am – 4.00pm

In an abusive relationship and need advice?

Domestic Violence Line

24 hour a day, 7 days a week counselling, referral to refuges and practical advice
Rural: 1800 656 463
TTY: 1800 671 442

NSW Rape Crisis Centre

24 hour a day, 7 days a week counselling
1800 424 017
Online counselling service:

NSW Police

000 or 106 (TTY)
or contact the Domestic Violence Liaison Office (DVLO) at your local police station

Need somewhere to stay?

Contact the Domestic Violence Line listed above, or:


24 hours, 7 days information and referral telephone service for people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless across NSW
1800 152 152.

Homeless Persons Information Centre

Sydney: (02) 9265 9081
Rural: 1800 234 566
Fax: (02) 9265 9639

Youth Emergency Accommodation Line NSW

Sydney: (02) 9318 1531
Rural: 1800 424 830

Need someone to talk to?

Kids Helpline

24 hour phone counselling
1800 551 800


24 hour online and telephone counselling
1800 650 890
or visit

Youth beyondblue

24 hour telephone counselling, online counselling 3pm – 12am 7 days a week
1300 224 636
or visit

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