Preventing Violence Against Women

Violence against women is a serious and widespread problem in Australia with enormous individual and community impacts and social costs.  Violence against women and their children is a human rights violation that significantly impacts the health and wellbeing of victim/survivors, and more broadly affects everyone in the community.  In Australia, on average one in three women have experienced physical violence since the age of 15, one in four women have experienced emotional abuse by a current or former partner, and one in five women have experienced sexual violence (Our Watch 2018).

Violence against women is any act of gender based violence, including physical, sexual, emotional, social economic and cultural violence.  Women who experience violence can suffer from decreased physical, mental and emotional health, social isolation and are less able to participate in community life including seeking and maintaining employment, which can have detrimental financial impacts on the victim/survivor.  Children exposed to violence are less able to form healthy attachments and may experience significant emotional, physical and development issues.

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Equality and Respect 2030

Council is committed to taking action to prevent violence against women.  In 2018, Council launched Equality and Respect 2030: A Strategy to prevent violence against women by promoting gender equity in the City of Melton which demonstrates the long term vision and commitment for how Council will work towards achieving gender equality in the municipality.  The Strategy guides Council's approach to addressing gender inequality as the root cause of violence against women.

What drives violence against women and what can we do to prevent it?

Change the Story is the national framework and evidence base which informs state and local government action to prevent men’s violence against women. The framework outlines the four drivers of violence against women and the five actions that people can all take to prevent violence against women.

Drivers of violence against women

  • Condoning of violence against women
  • Men's control of decision making and limits to women's independence
  • Stereotyped constructions of masculinity and femininity
  • Disrespect towards women and male peer relations that emphasise aggression

Actions to prevent violence against women

  • CHALLENGE condoning of violence against women
  • PROMOTE women's independence and decision making
  • CHALLENGE gender stereotypes and roles
  • STRENGTHEN positive, equal and respectful relationships
  • PROMOTE and normalise gender equality in public and private life

To understand the drivers and actions to prevent violence against women in more detail, and what this can look like in everyday life, refer to pages 4-7 of Women’s Health West’s Act To Prevent community guide.

Why focus on preventing violence against women?

All violence is wrong, regardless of the sex of the victim or the perpetrator.  However, there are gendered patterns in how women and men are perpetrators and victims of violence.  Women and men are more likely to experience violence from a male perpetrator, with around 95% of victims of violence reporting a male perpetrator.  Women and men are at greater risk of different types of violence.  Men are most at risk of violence from a stranger in a public place, while women are most at risk of violence in their home, from someone they know.  National research shows that approximately one in three women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence from a male perpetrator known to them.

Many services and communities focus on preventing men's violence against women, as the research shows that women experience violence perpetrated by men at a much higher rate, with greater severity and impacts.  Women are also far more likely than men to experience ongoing violence, require medical assistance, fear for their lives, and to be murdered (Women's Health West, 2018).

Violence against any person is always unacceptable.  This webpage has been specifically developed to assist the community to learn more about and to take action to prevent violence against women.  Promoting gender equality and respectful and non-violent relationships will benefit the whole community, including men.  For further information, refer to 2-3 of Women's Health West's Act To Prevent Men's Violence Against Women: a guide for community action.

What can I do?

There are a number of things people can do to improve gender equality and ensure that women and girls grow up in communities where they feel safe and respected.

Know your A-Z!
The Know your A-Z poster details the everyday actions to help prevent violence against women and improve gender equality. Why not share this poster on a noticeboard or back of the toilet door at your workplace, sporting club or at home?

Act To Prevent Men’s Violence Against Women: a guide for community action
An easy-to-read guide to help communities understand violence against and women and learn about the ways to prevent violence and build community cultures of respect, fairness and equality.
Act To Prevent Men's Violence Against Women: a guide for community action

Our Watch
Parents, caregivers, men, women and young people all have a role to play in working to end violence against women and promoting gender equity – whether at work, at home or in the community. Visit Our Watch website and learn how to take action every day.

For young people
For information on how to navigate respectful, consentual and equal relationships as a young person, visit The Line.

Get involved!

Each year Council recognises and participates in evidence-based international campaigns including the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence and International Women’s Day, to strengthen primary prevention action and improve gender equity in the City of Melton.

16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence
The 16 Days of Activism begins on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and concludes on 10 December, the International Day for Human Rights. The 16 Days of Activism is an annual campaign that creates a space for awareness and inspires communities across the globe to take action to prevent violence against women.
To find out more or to take part in the western region 16 Days Activist Challenge, visit the 16 Days Activist website.

International Women’s Day
Each year on 8 March communities across the globe celebrate the diversity of women and their representation, participation and achievements in community life.
Visit www.internationalwomensday.com to find out more and become inspired about ways to celebrate International Women’s day.  

Women Making It Happen
Djerriwarrh Health Services’ Women Making it Happen project is a group of women who have been recognised by their peers as ‘Women Making it Happen’ in their local area. Each year since 2015, 12 women have been recognised for their contribution to their families, workplaces and community on International Women’s Day. The Women Making it Happen group meet monthly to plan, implement and evaluate projects that aim to work towards gender equality and a safer, more respectful and equal community.  For more information, visit Djerriwarrh Health Services Health Promotion or Women Making it Happen Facebook pages.

Respect Women: Call it Out
Melton City Council supports the 'Respect Women: Call it Out' campaign, developed by Respect Victoria, to provide people with the tools to call out sexism, sexual harassment and disrespect towards women.  Research shows these disrespectful behaviours are some of the most well-known drivers of family violence, contributing to the culture that supports and enables family violence.  To find out more about how to be an active bystander visit respectvictoria.vic.gov.au.

Prevention of violence against women networks in the City of Melton

There are a number of ways that Council and Melbourne’s west are taking action to prevent violence against women.

Preventing Family Violence Advisory Committee
Council’s Preventing Family Violence Advisory Committee meets bi-monthly to work to prevent family violence and raise awareness of its impacts, develop strategies and provide a forum for shared knowledge to improve the wellbeing of those at risk and those affected in the City of Melton community.
View the recent meetings minutes of this Committee.
Ph: 9747 7200

Melton Family Violence Network
The Melton Family Violence Network is an important forum for local service providers to discuss service coordination and other practice issues. The network meets monthly.
Ph: 9747 7200

Preventing Violence Together: Western Region Partnership and Strategy
The Preventing Violence Together partnership was established by Women’s Health West in 2010 and includes representatives from local councils, Primary Care Partnerships, community health, the education and sporting sectors. The partnership works collaboratively to share resources and take collective action to prevent violence against women in Melbourne’s west. Council is a member of this partnership and regularly represented on the partnership’s governance, implementation and project working groups.

The Preventing Violence Together 2030: Western Region Strategy to Prevent Violence Against Women aims to create communities, cultures and organisations in the western region that are non-violent, non-discriminatory, gender equitable and promote respectful relationships. Council is a signatory to this Strategy and participates in collective projects and violence prevention initiatives.

Western Integrated Family Violence Committee
The Western Integrated Family Violence Committee (WIFVC) is a representative, whole-of-sector reference group comprising stakeholders involved in the family violence service system reform process in Melbourne’s west. The role of the WIFVC – like its counterparts across the state of Victoria – is to ‘operationalise’ the state-wide family violence reform agenda (underway since 2006) in locally meaningful ways.
Ph: 9689 9588

Support services, counselling and more information.

If you are at risk of immediate harm from family violence ring Victoria Police on 000 (triple zero).

1800 RESPECT
1800 RESPECT National Counselling Helpline, Information and Support
Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
Ph: 1800 737 732 
www.1800respect.org.au

Safe Steps Family Violence Response Centre
Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
Ph: 1800 015 188
www.safesteps.org.au

Women’s Health West
Specialist family violence services for women living in Melbourne’s west
Ph: 9689 9588
317-319 Barkly St, Footscray VIC 3011
Intake enquiries or family violence support email:  fvassist@whwest.org.au 
www.whwest.org.au/family-violence/

Men’s Referral Service
A confidential and free counselling service providing advice and support on anger, relationship or parenting issues, and family violence.
Ph: 1300 766 491
www.ntv.org.au

InTouch Multicultural Centre Against Family Violence
Free and confidential support services for migrant and refugee women living in Victoria, who are experiencing or have experienced family violence.  Bi-cultural and bi-lingual specialist staff.
Ph: 1800 755 988
www.intouch.org.au

Melton City Council’s Family Services Unit
General information, counselling and referral services.
Ph: 9747 7200
232 High St, Melton VIC 3337
Enquiries email: familyservices@melton.vic.gov.au 

Djerriwarrh Health Services
Men's behaviour change program, women's support groups and individual counselling.
Ph: 8746 1100
195-209 Barries Road, Melton West 3337
www.djhs.org.au//home 

Good Shepherd Brimbank Melton Family Violence Program
Casework, counselling, safety plans, links to legal support, housing services and support groups.
Ph: 8312 8800 
354 Main Road West, St Albans Victoria 3021
Enquiries email: stalbans@goodshep.org.au
www.goodshep.org.au/find-a-service/family-violence/