In late January 2012 the Victorian Government released an Action Plan Consultation Framework for addressing violence against women and their children.
The Action Plan detailed both current efforts to address violence against women and their children and proposed future directions and areas for action. The Plan set out actions under three areas of:
- Preventing violence against women and their children before it occurs
- Intervening earlier so that women and their children do not continue to experience violence; and
- Effectively responding to violence against women and their children after it occurs
The Plan stressed the need to address all forms of violence against women from an understanding of the causes of violence – gender inequality, gender stereotypes and broader cultures of violence.
DVRCV welcomed the draft Plan, and the opportunity to provide feedback. We attended consultation sessions; and met with our non-government allies prior to making our submission.
With our allies, we called for high level leadership from Premier Baillieu.
Strong and inspirational political leadership from the very top is needed to bring about an effective whole-of-government response to men’s violence against women and children. Government needs to convey the message that the whole community has a responsibility for the prevention of violence against women.
The Premier and government ministers must speak out publicly and set an example for other leaders in the community to take action in their own organisations and communities.
Some of the key points in our submission included:
- the Plan must include an emphasis on the importance of building shared understandings of the causes of violence against women, and a Framework document developed based on the key determinants of men’s violence against women as identified in research by VicHealth
- the Plan needs to emphasise that the violence is largely ‘male violence against women and children’
- we were glad to see the inclusion of other forms of violence against women and their children (such as sexting; trafficking; sexual harassment; female genital mutilation) but believe there needs to be an audit of current and proposed work across all of these areas
- the government must avoid ‘setting up’ the three important elements of the Plan and the different forms of violence against one another–all of these require further work and significant funding, and trying to ‘re-cut the (funding) cake’ is not the solution
- all actions named in the Plan must be coordinated, applied consistently across the state, and recurrently funded
We also submitted our concern that the action plan is silent about the expertise that has been developed by women’s services in this field over the past 40 years. This expertise must be acknowledged and experts from these services must play a key role in informing and leading the work.
DVRCV understands that a large number of women’s and community organisations made submissions in response to the Action Plan consultation.
We look forward to working with government and our non-government allies as the Plan is refined and further developed.
Links to submissions and related documents
- DVRCV’s submission
- Partners in Prevention submission
- The Federation of Community Legal Centres submission
- DV VIC’s submission
- Women’s Legal Service Victoria submission
- The media release, co-signed by 13 women’s agencies and peak bodies, calling on the Premier to take a leading role in the government’s plan to address violence against strategies
Photo from Flickr by Heart and Soul
 VicHealth 2007, Preventing violence before it occurs: A framework and background paper to guide the primary prevention of violence against women in Victoria, Victorian Health Promotion Foundation, Carlton.