Feeling unsafe? Find support services   emergency? call 000


Our research

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.


News and events

ANROWS hosts events as part of its knowledge transfer and exchange work, including public lectures, workshops and research launches. Details of upcoming ANROWS activities and news are available from the list on the right.



ANROWS was established by the Commonwealth and all state and territory governments of Australia to produce, disseminate and assist in applying evidence for policy and practice addressing violence against women and their children.



To support the take-up of evidence, ANROWS offers a range of resources developed from research to support practitioners and policy-makers in delivering evidence-based interventions.


A social network analysis and implementation study of an intervention designed to advance social and emotional learning and respectful relationships in secondary schools

Schools play an important part in a whole-of-society approach to preventing, and ending, gender inequality and gender-based violence (GBV). Respectful relationships education (RRE) is a key facet of prevention efforts within schools. 

As RRE programs are increasingly mandated across Australia, there is a need for robust evidence on RRE that examines the entire social ecosystem in which these programs operate. This research, funded as part of the ANROWS 4AP research program, has generated critical new insights into the impacts of RRE programs on students and student relationships, as well as what is needed – at every level of that social ecosystem – to implement them effectively.

This project focused on the delivery of a modified version of the Resilience, Rights and Respectful Relationships education program with Year 7 and Year 9 students in six Victorian secondary schools over 2022. Using a mixed methods approach, it involved:

  • surveys with students
  • focus groups with students
  • interviews with members of staff holding a variety of positions.

Alongside this, the research used social network analysis – a research framework that focuses on relationships and social interactions – to examine the influence of social connections on student attitudes and wellbeing.

The research found that overall, both students and teachers found the program useful. The program resulted in a reduction in bullying and sexual bullying amongst students, and when taught faithfully, saw students improve in their regard for the rights of others and capacity for empathetic engagement.

The study also found that many teachers were unable to teach the program as it was intended. Factors influencing teacher capacity, confidence and comfort cut across all levels of the educational ecosystem: communities (for example, parent or community resistance to RRE); education systems (such as provision of teaching resources and guidance); schools (for example, alignment with school vision and mission); and classrooms/teachers (for example, concerns over teaching what was perceived to be sensitive content).

By undertaking social network analysis, the research also includes important findings about the gendered nature of classroom relationships and the influence of those relationships on attitudes towards gender equality and GBV.



Publication details

This work is part of the ANROWS research reports series. ANROWS research reports are in-depth reports on empirical research produced under ANROWS’s research program.



Chief Investigator, University of Melbourne

Co-Chief Investigator, SNA Toolbox

Research Fellow, University of Melbourne

Research Fellow, University of Melbourne

Co-Chief Investigator, SNA Toolbox

Research Fellow, SNA Toolbox


978-1-922645-78-4 (paperback) | ISBN: 978-1-922645-79-1 (PDF)

210 pp.


Suggested citation

Cahill, H., Lusher, D., Farrelly, A., Calleja, N., Wang, P., & Hassani, A. (2023). A social network analysis and implementation study of an intervention designed to advance social and emotional learning and respectful relationships in secondary schools (Research report, 07/2023). ANROWS.

Back to top