What is the difference?

The goal of primary prevention is to stop the problem from developing in the first place. Secondary prevention in family law is helping people after the family violence has happened, primary prevention is preventing the violence from happening.


The goal of primary prevention is to stop the problem from developing in the first place. In medicine, primary prevention is aimed at stopping the disease or injury from occurring. The medical goal of secondary prevention is to intervene and assist after the illness or injury has already been diagnosed.

As family and criminal lawyers we do a lot of secondary prevention. After the family violence has occurred clients come to us and we try to help them to deal with what has happened in the past, and prevent it from re-occurring.

Primary prevention for family violence includes identifying acceptable and unacceptable behaviour in a relationship. Some people refer to certain behaviour as being a ‘red flag’, this is the sort of behaviour we want to help people to learn to identify. Rather than dealing with the family violence after it occurs, we want to help people to be pro-active and to only give their time and themselves to respectful, mutual and supportive relationships.

Even young children can learn to remove themselves from dangerous or destructive situations, rather than stand there and expect someone else to save them, expect someone else to make the person behave. Children often want adults to make others behave, or to punish the offender so the behaviour will stop. This belief that they can stop the bad behaviour of another person is often untrue, and more importantly can be dangerous as they move into adult relationships.

We still look before we cross the road at a zebra crossing because even though the car should stop, we know that sometimes they don’t. Arresting the driver and charging them with a crime after they hit the pedestrian is secondary prevention. Teaching the child to look before crossing is primary prevention.

Equally, we need to remove ourselves from other situations that are dangerous or destructive to our emotional well being, or our physical safety, in other areas of life.

In short

Primary prevention aims to prevent the problem from occurring in the first place. No Respect, No Relationship will help people to make good choices about relationships We encourage people to either leave destructive relationships, or to be a better member of the relationship themselves by respecting the other person..


If you would like to book a free No Respect, No Relationship talk for your school, community group or work place please contact Janis today.