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Violence against women and children affects everybody. It impacts on the health, wellbeing and safety of a significant proportion of Australians throughout all states and territories and places an enormous burden on the nation’s economy across family and community services, health and hospitals, income-support and criminal justice systems.


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Reinterpreting the line: Young Australians’ use of social technology to prevent gender-based violence


While forming the important parts of identity and relationships, young people in Australian are digitally embedded in their social practices, with the eSafety Commission reporting in 2018 that 76 percent stay in touch with loved ones through social media. Indeed, young people are not alone in seeking peer advice and support online about how to prevent violence in their relationships. However, despite recommendations from the fields of feminist criminology, young people's engagement with social technology for primary prevention has yet to be given voice. The current research speaks in parallel with these concerns as they reflect the efforts practised by young people in Australia who use social technology as part of their practices of primary prevention.


Broadly, this doctoral thesis seeks to examine the nature of young people’s engagement with primary prevention of violence against women (PPVAW) content through social technologies.


Stage 1 is a systematic social media content analysis of a digital PPVAW campaign targeted towards young Australians aged between 12 and 21 called “The Line”. This stage involved a systematic content analysis of discussions to identify how participants of this digital environment over the period 2014 to 2017 used PPVAW language online.

Stage 2 of the research design involves a series of focus group discussions with young people who interact with PPVAW campaigns and programs with local service providers and social technology. Young people who participate in these focus groups contribute campaign content that they have used or created to share PPVAW knowledge.


Currently, PPVAW literature features a number and depth of evaluations of training tools and education programs in schools and university settings as these cohorts are easily accessible; however, these evaluations rarely feature qualitative reflections of the participants. Their recommendations for further research and environments for PPVAW practice encourage the exploration of young people's use of social technologies. Similarly, a significant amount of research from feminist media studies has been able to describe a rich use of social technologies by young people for political activism, empowerment and violence prevention.

Funding Body

RMIT Global Urban and Social Sciences/Our Watch Industry Partnership

Project start date

September 2017

Expected completion date

November 2021
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