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The Logan Reporter, Thursday 31st March 2016

Logan may have one of the highest incident rates of domestic violence in the country, but it is also home to a groundbreaking strategy aiming to eradicate domestic violence from the city, and it is being led by our youth.

Last year YFS launched the groundbreaking R4Respect campaign, a domestic violence prevention and education strategy for young people aged 12-24 in Logan, driven by youth ambassadors.

Preventing violence before it occurs is the main focus of R4Respect. Supported by YFS staff, the ambassadors, who represent a diverse range of cultural and socio-economic groups within Logan, have been carrying out school-based educational activities as well as promoting the campaign across digital media.

Thanks to funding from the Queensland Government’s Advance Queensland Knowledge Transfer Partnership program, YFS will now be able to further develop and evaluate its #R4Respect youth engagement model.

The grant recognises YFS’ work in leading innovation in youth models of change like its youth-focused domestic violence prevention program #R4Respect.

The model aims to upskill young people in public awareness campaigns with a focus on digital communications to become agents of change.

Under the Advance Queensland program, YFS will work with an experienced researcher from Griffith University’s School of Human Services and Social Work to review and improve its Youth Leading Change model- #R4Respect in Logan and surrounds.

YFS CEO Cath Bartolo said the implementation and evaluation of this innovative, evidence-based youth engagement model of change would further enable YFS and Griffith University to build greater research and service delivery capacity to eradicate domestic violence.

“This is a great outcome for YFS and for the city of Logan,” she said. “ It is part of our vision to build resilient, independent young people. We are committed to creating opportunities for them to improve their skills in digital mediums for positive social impact”, she said.

“The grant will help our 13 #R4Respect Youth Ambassadors to increase their Information and Communication Technologies skills so they can influence other young people about domestic violence strategies.”

“By upskilling young people they will also be better equipped for employment in innovative social projects and enterprises in Queensland and beyond,” she added.

“#R4Respect Youth Ambassadors are on a mission not only to upskill themselves but to use their knowledge to ensure that young people in our community can live free of family violence,” she said.

Youth Ambassador, Abak Sarah Deng also believes #R4Respect has potential to reach young people around the country and internationally.

“It will not be just in Logan. In three years’ time, you’re going to see young people across Australia stepping on to this; it’s going to be a movement,” she said.

Collaboration between the Youth Leading Change- #R4Respect program and Griffith University has already started.

On the 15th of July, the forum Young people impacting on social change will provide an opportunity for Youth Ambassadors and guest speakers to talk about youth participation models, how they work and how people can get involved.