Before they’re victims: Rethinking youth-targeted relationship abuse prevention

K. Murphy, D. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Intimate partner abuse (or relationship abuse) against women is recognised as a major public health issue. A number ofrelationship abuse prevention programs targeted at youth have been developed in Australia. These programs are generallyaimed at changing attitudes, and take the stance that girls should not be viewed as being responsible for protectingthemselves against violence. In this paper it is argued that the current, dominant focus on physical violence, over other formsof relationship abuse, limits the potential effectiveness of programs that might otherwise help young people to resist thedevelopment of abusive dynamics. It is also argued that programs that presume a victim status for girls and a perpetratorstatus for boys are both inconsistent with contemporary evidence and unlikely to empower young people at risk of chronicperpetration and/or victimisation to avoid such outcomes. A dyadic slippery slope model of chronic relationship abuse isproposed and new directions for prevention research in this area are suggested.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-49
Number of pages12
JournalAustralian Psychologist
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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