Young people as agents of change in preventing violence against women

Project summary - RP.17.13

This research begins with a broad hypothesis that gender-based respectful relationships education among young people is an essential element in preventing domestic violence. The existing literature and evidence reveals that respectful relationships programs can impact positively on awareness of domestic and family violence, however there is limited evidence of influence on behaviours and actions (Flood & Kendrick, 2012; the National Plan; Stanley et al, 2016).  This project will adopt an innovative action-research approach that engages young people actively in the design, implementation, and critical reflection on the peer-to-peer R4Respect violence prevention program. The research will evaluate the impact of one peer-to-peer respectful relationships program, R4Respect, on influencing the views of young people and the actions they may pursue to build more respectful relationships. This research aims to inform ways young people can effectively engage in positive change that promotes gender equality and reduces the prevalence of violence against women following participation in the program. Young people aged 17-25 years will be included as participants and/or researchers through a Youth Research Group. This positions young people as both learners and agents of change. This is a cross-jurisdictional collaborative research project between Griffith University, Qld, Ruby Gaea Sexual Assault Service, Darwin, NT, and YFS Ltd., Logan, Qld. The research team will collect data from young people and adult stakeholders in Darwin, NT and Logan, Queensland.

This project will measure both:

1. The views and actions of the young participants (YPs) on what constitutes harm and respect in relationships; and

2. The views of the young participants and educators (stakeholders) on the utility of the peer-to-peer respectful relationships education model.

The primary aims of this research are:

1. To improve the understanding young people have of respectful relationships and gender equality in order to reduce the prevalence of violence against women and girls.

2. To expand the evidence-base about how to engage in understanding and advocating for respectful relationships with young people.

3. To position young people at the centre of the research process as experts in order to focus on their perspectives, skills development, and future actions.



Project lead

Dr Karen Struthers, Griffith University (Early Career Researcher)

Research expertise

1. Prof Clare Tilbury, Griffith University

2. Natalie Parmenter, Research Officer, YFS Ltd

Practice expertise

1. Beenush Khokar, YFS Ltd, Qld

2. Ms Samantha Chung, Ruby Gaea Sexual Assault Service, NT


Priority populations

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women (as explicit topic).


Project length

1-2 years