Love Bites program teaches Sutherland Shire teens about healthy relationships

Highly commended: Staff from Sharks Leagues Club, Sharks Have Heart and Sutherland Shire Family Services at the recent ClubsNSW 2019 Clubs & Community Awards.
Highly commended: Staff from Sharks Leagues Club, Sharks Have Heart and Sutherland Shire Family Services at the recent ClubsNSW 2019 Clubs & Community Awards.

A program that educates Sutherland Shire high school students about healthy relationships, consent, sexual assault and domestic and family violence was highly commended in the education category of the recent ClubsNSW 2019 Clubs & Community Awards.

The Love Bites program is run by Sutherland Shire Family Services and reaches more than 1200 year 10 students in the area each year.

Developed by the National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, it aims to deconstruct the myths that exist in the community about domestic violence and sexual assault.

More than 12 Sutherland Shire high schools, including Engadine, Menai, Heathcote, Cronulla and Endeavour Sports, have hosted the program since it was launched in 2011.

Sutherland Shire Family Services Love Bites Coordinator Amber Schacht said students engaged with the program content in a mature and appropriate way.

"The feedback we get from the program is incredible, with over 95 per cent of students feeling more confident in getting help for themselves or a friend and over 82 per cent reporting as learning 'something new' about relationships, consent, domestic violence or sexual assault," she said.

The program provides important messaging and education to help young people have respectful relationships.

The program is supported by Cronulla Sharks Football Club's community outreach arm, Sharks Have Heart, and their platinum partner Capital Bluestone, and relies on professional volunteers including police, psychologists, counsellors and youth and family services organisations.

Sharks Leagues Club will host the inaugural Love Bites Reflections Award on November 26, which will see prizes awarded to students who have taken part in the program.