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Primary Prevention

Primary prevention of violence against women and family violence

Working together to tackle gender inequality

Violence against women and family violence in Australia is prevalent, serious and an abuse of human rights. The impact on individuals, families and communities is devastating and the broader social and economic costs are staggering.


But it doesn’t have to this way

Evidence informs us that violence against women and family violence is preventable[2]. We all need to work together in our homes, workplaces, schools and social groups to address its main driver – gender inequality.

We do this by:

  • challenging the condoning of violence against women
  • challenging harmful gender stereotypes and roles
  • promoting women’s independence and decision-making
  • strengthening positive, equal relationships based on respect.

Together, we can build a future where women and their children live free from violence and all women are respected, valued and included.

As every person, community, and setting is different, so are primary prevention techniques and initiatives. Primary prevention efforts will be most effective, when they are consistently mutually reinforced, across a range of settings.


Our approach to primary prevention

Our organisation is deeply committed to the primary prevention of violence against women and family violence. We endorse a public health approach of working across the population at the community, organisational, systemic, institutional and societal levels to challenge the gendered norms, practices and structures that drive and support this violence.

Our practices are evidence-based and align with government frameworks and reform. We understand that gender inequality cannot be separated from other forms of inequality and we must focus efforts on the intersections between such inequalities. Accordingly, we take an intersectional approach informed by partnerships and initiatives that seek to challenge power, privilege and oppression that is reinforced by social systems and structures. This includes work to challenge forms of discrimination including homophobia and transphobia, racism, ableism, ageism and classism.

As noted in an Our Watch paper, of analysis of existing research, “it is increasingly evident that gender inequality also functions as a driver of violence against people within lesbian, gay, bisexual transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) communities, albeit with a slightly more nuanced focus. Binary sex categorisations and rigid adherence to binary gender roles and stereotypes significantly impacts on how LGBTIQ people are treated – both structurally and individually”[3].

We engage in systematic evaluation of the activities, outputs and impacts of our projects to continually improve our practice, inform future work and contribute to the evidence base of primary prevention.


Our primary prevention services

We have worked successfully in primary prevention of violence against women and family violence since 2011. This work includes a focus on educational institutions and workplaces as key settings of change as they have significant reach and influence within our communities.

We have partnered with several Geelong secondary schools[4] in their capacity as educational institutions to deliver the Sexual Assault Prevention Programs for Secondary Schools (SAPPSS). This involves working with staff and students to take a “whole school approach” to reduce the incidence of sexual assault among young people and support schools to respond to sexual violence and disclosures.

We continue to build our practice of partnering with workplaces to promote gender equality. Evidence informs us that the business case for this work is strong. Achieving gender equality is linked to improved national productivity and economic growth, increased organisational performance, enhanced capacity of organisations to attract and retain talented employees and enhanced organisational reputation.[5]

Currently we are:

  • working with organisations to embed gender equity practices in their workplace
  • collaborating to lead a Community of Practice for primary prevention practitioners that will deepen and expand knowledge and improve service delivery
  • collaborating to coordinate forums for community groups and organisations to learn about evidence-based primary prevention practice
  • contributing to the primary prevention evidence base and social policy frameworks through participation in expert advisory committees and working groups.

See below under Our projects for more detail.


Our projects

Here is a snapshot of some of our current projects

Partnership, Equality and Prevention project with the City of Greater Geelong (the City)

In July 2017 we commenced a 12-month project in partnership with the City, funded by the Victorian State Government under its Free from Violence strategy.

The project involves working with the City to strengthen and expand its efforts in promoting gender equity and preventing family violence and all forms of violence against women and their children.

Taking a “whole of organisation” approach, we are engaged in activities including:

  • collaborating with the City to present Geelong’s inaugural, fully subscribed, Gender Equity in the Workplace Forum in February 2018
  • delivering gender equity training for the City’s workforce
  • development of gender equity practices as part of the City’s “business as usual” approach

Community of Practice, Primary Prevention in the G21 region – In partnership with Women’s Health and Wellbeing Barwon South West (WHWBSW)

Together with WHWBSW, we are leading the establishment of a Community of Practice (CoP) for practitioners working in primary prevention of violence against women in the G21 region.

The purpose of the CoP is to create a forum for:

  • information sharing and professional development
  • developing and building on a shared understanding of primary prevention
  • creating partnership opportunities that maximise resources and coordinate efforts in primary prevention.

A sustainable CoP will guide the practice of primary prevention of violence against women and family violence well into the future.


Participation in expert advisory committees and working groups

Advisory committees and working groups

We are constantly working to maintain the integrity and effectiveness of our work, and to draw on and contribute to the evidence base of our practice. Our organisation is represented on the following state-wide expert advisory committees and working groups:

Ministerial Taskforce for the Prevention of Family Violence and other forms of Violence Against Women

Respectful Relationships Expert Advisory Group convened by the Department of Education and Training


Our Team

The Training and Gender Equity team is responsible for developing and implementing initiatives for the primary prevention of violence against women and family violence. If you’d like to get in touch, please contact our team on (03) 5222 4318.


Reform, strategy and resources

In recent years, there has been a significant increase in policy activity with federal and state/territory governments and research to prevent family violence and all forms of violence against women and family violence. Below is a list of key resources to support you in your primary prevention work that we will continue to update.

Key framework for primary prevention

Change the Story: A shared framework for the primary prevention of violence against women and their children in Australia by Our Watch, ANROWS and VicHealth

Government strategy and activity

Publications

Websites

Let’s change the story: Violence against women in Australia (Our Watch)

Website by Pixeld