Relationships, young people and the law

Relationships, young people and the law

About the project​

Relationships, young people and the law (RYPL) is a response to the need for effective and engaging legal education for young people on the topic of violence and personal relationships. We planned the project in late 2015 and implemented it across 2016.

The pilot project has several components:

  • establishing close partnerships with certain schools
  • establishing strong relationships with youth services to ensure successful referral and follow-up pathways
  • developing content comprising stories, activities, visual presentations and educators’ resources
  • evaluating the sessions by seeking feedback from young people, teachers and collaborating agencies.

The pilot project has been delivered to schools we have ongoing relationships with, including Ringwood Secondary College and Newcomb Secondary College.

We have co-presented with youth agencies, such as Maroondah Youth Services, who have delivered respectful relationships programs, prior to the legal issues being discussed. Where co-presentation has not been possible, we have ensured that our content is presented in a way that complements other respectful relationships education programs being delivered in pilot schools.

This project builds on our existing work such as:

RYPL is also situated within the context of the recent policy shifts at state and federal levels to tackle family violence as a major issue in our communities, and within the context of the introduction of respectful relationships as a compulsory part of the school curriculum.

The legal issues

In the pilot project, we have focused on violence in three categories of relationships:

  • family violence in the home, including between parents, between parents and children, and between siblings and other family relationships
  • family violence in intimate partner relationships
  • violence in relationships with friends and other people we meet where there is no familial or intimate relationship.

Legal issues include:

  • what is violence according to the law
  • the criminal justice response to violence
  • family violence and legal remedies such as family violence intervention orders
  • bullying, threats to personal safety and legal remedies such as mediation and personal safety intervention orders
  • how intervention orders work, such as consequences of breaching an order
  • where to get legal help.

Our approach

RYPL is delivered as a set of facilitated activities and discussion. It is about creating a space for thought and discussion about respectful relationships and the law as opposed to teaching a lesson. Our approach includes:

  • brainstorming activities
  • word/outcome card match activities
  • videos
  • interactive storytelling. Students take part in telling the story, which has more than one outcome and the group discusses what the characters could have done differently.

Our partners and collaborating agencies


We are evaluating the pilot across late 2016 and are currently analysing the feedback we have received from students of Ringwood Secondary College and Newcomb Secondary College. We will have recommendations about whether to expand the project ready by early 2017. This includes providing the content on our website for more educators to access.

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