Prevention of Violence Against Women (PVAW)
Prevention of Violence Against Women (PVAW)
Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria (DVRCV) aims to create a world in which gender equality ensures women and their children are thriving, respected and free from violence. Our prevention work is informed by the evidence-based resource Change the Story: A shared framework for the primary prevention of violence against women and their children in Australia.
How prevention and response work together
It’s important that there’s a connection between prevention and response work because they both address the issue of violence against women, just at different stages. Prevention tackles the underlying causes of violence whereas response addresses the impacts of violence after it occurs and aims to stop further violence from happening. Connection between the prevention and response sectors also means that all activity (and funding) is aligned towards a common goal – eradicating violence against women.
Prevention activities also increase the likelihood of people disclosing that they’ve experienced violence. To do prevention work safely, it’s essential to have a system in place to ensure victim/survivors get the support they need if they disclose. This involves making sure that the people leading prevention activities have the skills to provide a supportive first response and refer people to specialist supports. It also means having appropriate organisational policies and processes to guide a best-practice response.
Our practice at DVRCV is strengthened by being able to provide information, support and training across the continuum from prevention through to response.
DVRCV’s approach to PVAW is to focus our efforts on the societal, systemic, institutional and organisational levels of the socio-ecological model of violence against women outlined in Change the Story.
Image source: Change the Story
Across these areas, we address the four drivers that are most consistently associated with higher levels of violence against women:
- Condoning of violence against women
- Men’s control of decision-making and limits to women’s independence in public and private life
- Rigid gender roles and stereotyped constructions of masculinity and femininity
- Male peer relations that emphasise aggression and disrespect towards women.
DVRCV’s key PVAW strategies
We will build the capacity of individuals and organisations to ensure a whole-of-setting approach to prevention work. Activities include the development of tools and resources, and holding forums and events to support networking and information sharing between practitioners.
We will support prevention practitioners and organisations to develop their approach to primary prevention in line with Change the Story. Activities include accredited training, professional development, communities of practice and webinars to support practice change.
We will provide leadership to influence Victoria’s PVAW reforms by providing expert advice to the Victorian government, in line with the evidence base and the Family Violence Royal Commission recommendations. We will also act as an information resource to support sectors and government departments that are new to the PVAW field.
We will test new approaches and techniques in different settings to build our understanding of prevention, and share these learnings with the Victorian prevention sector.
We will work in partnership with prevention agencies and other organisations across the state to ensure that our work compliments and builds upon existing activity.
Our history in PVAW
PVAW is not a new space for DVRCV.
We have been involved in primary prevention work since the early 2000s, as the Victorian evidence-base was still emerging. As was accepted practice at that time (before the release of VicHealth’s 2007 prevention framework and the later release of Change the Story) prevention work incorporated much of what we now think of as early intervention.
DVRCV’s early flagship prevention initiative was When Love Hurts (now Love: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly), a website for young people about dating, relationships, sex and the warning signs of abuse in a relationship. In 2001 it won the national prize at the Australian Violence Prevention Awards.
First funded as part of VicHealth’s Respect, Responsibility and Equality program in 2007, Partners in Prevention (PiP) has grown significantly over the past decade and now has a statewide reach of over 1000 members. PiP supports professionals who work with early childhood services and schools in Victoria to plan, implement and evaluate a whole school or whole of service approach to respectful relationships. Members have access to a monthly bulletin, professional consulting from DVRCV’s prevention staff, an online library of resources, professional development and networking events.
In recent years, our prevention work has included delivering training to journalists, as part of the Workplace Equality and Respect pilot project, and to the Department of Education and Training’s new respectful relationships workforce. In 2016, we also hosted a conference in partnership with the Community Child Care Association to build the capacity of early childhood professionals to both prevent and respond to family violence.