About us

R4Respect was created in 2015 by YFS CEO Cath Bartolo in collaboration with Dr. Karen Struthers a Research Fellow at Griffith University as an initiative that enabled young people to lead and influence other young people in preventing domestic and family violence.

Read about some of our achievements.

Why do we exist?

R4Respect was prompted by the need to respond to the attitudes of young people towards interpersonal abuse and violence. The 2017 National Community Attitudes towards Violence Against Women Survey (NCAS) showed that:


Nearly 1 in 4 (24%) young people disagree that violence against women is common.


Almost 1 in 3 (31%) young people believe that women prefer men to be in charge of a relationship.


More than 2 in 5 (43%) young people support the statement: “I think it’s natural for a man to want to appear in control of his partner in front of his male friends.”


1 in 7 (14%) young people believe that many allegations by women of sexual violence are false.


Nearly 1 in 8 (12%) young people either think it’s legal for a man to have sex with his wife without her consent or are unsure what the law is.

R4Respect was designed as a strategy through which young people could challenge these problematic views and experiences among their peer group via a youth engagement domestic violence prevention model. The program logic for R4Respect is based on two theoretical foundations and bodies of evidence:


Domestic violence is gender-based violence with men being the predominant perpetrators, and that respectful relationships education with young people can overcome the gendered attitudes and values that underpin this violence (Flood & Kendrick, 2012; National Plan, 2012; Special Task Force on Domestic Violence, Queensland, 2015); and


Young people are capable of being agents of change, rather than simply agents to be changed
(UNCF, 2014; Zeldin et al., 2014).

There is a strong link between abusive, non-respectful attitudes and behaviours that young people see and learn from their own families, and their own use of violent behaviour.

To prevent domestic violence, young people, particularly young men and boys, need to hear and understand what respectful relationships look like as well as understanding what is okay and what is not okay in relationships. Current attitudes of young people and the wider community are disturbing.

Domestic violence is preventable.