Policy, research, evidence and statistics

Policy, research, evidence and statistics

Policy context

Respectful relationships education (RRE)

Broader prevention of violence against women


Change the story: A shared framework for the primary prevention of violence against women and their children in Australia (2015) is Australia’s shared framework for understanding the evidence and principles of effective prevention of violence against women and children. This framework has informed the current public policy context and will guide best practice violence prevention activity across the country.

Change the Story uses global evidence to identify the four key gendered drivers of violence against women. These are:

  • Condoning of violence against women.
  • Men’s control of decision-making and limits to women’s independence in public and private life.
  • Rigid gender roles and stereotyped constructions of masculinity and femininity.
  • Male peer relations that emphasise aggression and disrespect towards women.

The RRE evidence base

The extensive work of RRE practitioners over decades in Victoria, Australia, and internationally has provided a sound evidence base for working effectively to prevent gender-based violence in these settings.

As respectful relationships activity continues to be rolled out and evaluated, it is expected that new learnings will emerge and the evidence base will adapt, contributing to opportunities to continuously improve practice.

This page highlights key documents, significant in communicating the existing evidence base.

Core elements of RRE: Vic Health and the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, 2009

In 2009, the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development released research conducted by  VicHealth which summarised the evidence base on RRE: Respectful Relationships Education: Violence prevention and respectful relationships education in Victorian secondary schools.

This document identified five elements as necessary to implementing good practice:

  1. A whole school approach – a concerted approach across the entire school to effect cultural change. It includes integrating violence prevention into curriculum, school policy, processes and practices; specialised training for teachers and support staff; and involving the whole school, including parents and the community.
  2. A program framework and logic – clearly articulating and incorporating a theoretical framework that addresses the links between gender, power and violence, and having a theory of change that demonstrates how intended outcomes will be achieved.
  3. Effective curriculum delivery – informed by feminist theory and including consideration of curriculum content, teaching methods, the staff involved, and the structure and duration of the program. Content should address systemic constraints and avoid focusing on minimising personal risks.
  4. Inclusive, relevant and culturally sensitive practice – integrated into all stages of program design, implementation and evaluation.
  5. Evaluation – a comprehensive short, medium and long-term evaluation that examines the impact on attitudes, skills and behaviours, and processes of change.

Core elements of RRE: Our Watch, 2015

Respectful Relationships Education in Schools: Evidence Paper was developed by Our Watch in 2015 to support policy makers and education departments to design, implement and evaluate their commitments to RRE.

This paper reviewed existing international and national evidence, establishing seven core elements for good practice RRE:

  1. Address drivers of gender-based violence
  2. Taking a whole school approach
  3. Integrating evaluation and continual improvement
  4. Providing resources and support for teachers
  5. Utilising age-appropriate, interactive and participatory curriculum
  6. Establish mechanisms for collaboration and coordinated effort
  7. Have a long-term vision, approach and funding


Acknowledgement of country

DVRCV and the PiP network acknowledge Aboriginal people as the traditional owners of the lands and waters throughout Australia.

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