A shared national framework for the primary prevention of violence against women and their children in Australia. Developed by Our Watch, VicHealth and ANROWS - on Tuesday 10th November 2016.
Violence against women and their children is not an inevitable or intractable social problem. Rather, it is the product of complex yet modifiable social and environmental factors.
Put simply, violence against women and their children is preventable.
In recent years, through increased public awareness, Australians no longer consider violence against women and their children to be a private issue. No longer are we willing to accept the untold damage such violence inflicts on individuals, communities, organisations and institutions.
But this alone is not enough.
If we want an Australia free of violence against women and their children we have to challenge the historically-entrenched beliefs and behaviours that drive it, and the social, political and economic structures, practices and systems that support these.
Although there is no single cause of violence against women and their children, the latest international evidence shows there are certain factors that consistently predict - or drive - higher levels of violence against women. These include beliefs and behaviours reflecting disrespect for women, low support for gender equality and adherence to rigid or stereotypical gender roles, relations and identities.
What this framework makes clear is that gender inequality is the core of the problem and it is the heart of the solution.
Violence against women has been shown to be significantly and consistently lower in countries where women’s economic, social and political rights are better protected, and where power and resources are more equally distributed between men and women. Individuals (men and women) who do not believe men and women are equal, and/or see them as having specific roles or characteristics, are more likely to condone, tolerate or excuse violence against women.
Australia is currently ideally placed to create the nationwide cultural and systematic change needed to end violence against women and their children.
We have one of the world’s strongest research and practice bases – established over a decade of bipartisan leadership at national and state levels – and are one of the few countries to have developed and begun implementing substantive policy frameworks to stop violence against women and their children before it starts.
While we have much to learn from the international evidence drawn on in this framework, we also have much to contribute to it and, with the right planning and commitment, we are poised to lead the world on the issue.
An Australia free of violence against women and their children is an Australia where women are not only safe, but respected, valued and treated as equals in private and public life.
We can end violence against women and their children. The evidence-based approach outlined in this framework lays out a pathway to a measurable reduction in its prevalence. Similar approaches have been used to great effect in areas such as road safety, drink driving and rates of smoking.
We now know what it’s going to take to prevent violence against women and their children, making Australia an exciting place to work and live as we all pull in the same direction towards a shared goal of safety, equality and respect for all.
Let’s change the story. Let’s end violence against women and their children in Australia.
Our Watch, ANROWS, VicHealth.
Read the full framework