R4Respect is a violence prevention program in which young people challenge harmful and violence supportive attitudes among young people to promote respectful relationships. The program has four main pillars of action:
- youth-led peer-to-peer respectful relationships education sessions;
- a social media strategy;
- community events; and
- law reform and advocacy for young people.
R4Respect was established to counter men’s violence against women. This aim has broadened to encompass gender-based violence in the interpersonal context, rather than collective and institutional violence. The focus is on efforts to prevent and reduce forms of violence and abuse between individuals, peers or small numbers of people, such as domestic or intimate partner violence, online abuse, rape and sexual assault, and sexual harassment. The R4Respect model draws inspiration from international movements that promote young people as agents of positive change on major health and well-being issues (United Nations Children’s Fund, 2012;United Nations Development Program, 2018). The aim of R4Respect is to challenge attitudes and behaviours that foster gender inequality and disrespect for those who do not fit the white male and dominant identity. This form of masculinity — based on characteristics such as violence, physical strength, suppression of emotion, devaluation of women and domination—is described as toxic masculinity (Elliott, 2018; PettyJohn, Muzzey, Maas, & McCauley, 2018). The work of R4Respect is based on a gender-based framework consistent with the Council of Australian Governments’ National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children (the National Plan) (2011). The gender-based framework recognises that men are the primary perpetrators of violence and that male violence will persist while toxic masculinity and gender inequality persist. The R4Respect ‘program logic’ is underpinned by a theoretical framework that:
- addresses the links between gender, power and violence; and
- guides young people as active agents of social change