YFS delivers R4Respect, a DV prevention model

R4Respect Peer Workshop delivery

R4Respect Peer Workshop delivery.

Four years after the small team of young people from Logan were established, R4Respect – now a leading youth program in family violence prevention in Queensland – received ‘National Gold’ from the Australian Institute of Criminology at the 2019 Australian Crime and Violence Prevention Awards. The award was presented by the Honourable Peter Dutton MP, the Minister for Home Affairs, at Parliament House in Canberra on 26 November 2019.

Upon receiving the award, R4Respect Program Coordinator Rachael Pascua said:

Young people are agents of change, not agents to be changed. It is clear that communities become safer and stronger when young people are empowered with the knowledge and tools to live healthy lives free of abuse and violence.

Since 2015, R4Respect has reached more than 2,500 young people online and more than 5,000 face-to-face, with positive messages of respect and of what crosses the line into harm. The diversity of its young leaders as community role models has proven successful in inspiring thousands of young Queenslanders to initiate respectful behaviour.

Through face-to-face education and digital media R4Respect’s work, messages are consistent with the National Plan and work of Our Watch through a peer-led framework. Research conducted by ANROWS (The Australian National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety) and Griffith University showed that R4Respect’s youth-led education model is successful in shifting young people’s attitudes around consent, sexual respect and gender equality.

R4Respect Youth Worker Tom Rainsford says:

When we speak to young people about harmful behaviours that aren't discussed enough in our communities, we see young people evaluate deeply held beliefs on gender, relationships and violence. The way they're willing to change their minds in front of their peers as well as challenge each other is incredible.

The impact evaluation of the peer-to-peer education model found promising results. Feedback from young participants in R4Respect workshops revealed that:

  • 84% of the youth participants said that having young people lead the learning helped them better understand what is okay and what crosses the line into harm
  • 86% strongly agreed (55%) or agreed (31%) to the statement ‘Things I learnt in the program would help me act with greater respect in the future’
  • experienced educators who observed the program viewed the peer educators as effective and relatable and recommended that R4Respect would be a useful complement to school and community-based education.

In response to findings from ANROWS revealing further work is needed with young men, R4Respect has established its new brother-program, Men4Respect. In this programyoung men lead peer-education sessions and empower their male peers to enact healthy positive behaviours. An evaluation of Men4Respect will be undertaken as the program seeks to pilot with groups of young men in 2020.

Find out more about R4Respect.