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Church, sport, academia and sector join to end violence against women in Victoria

June 08 2016 By Hannah Grant, Media Manager

Representatives from the church, sporting community, academia, local government and the violence against women sector are all coming together today in Melbourne to assist in driving nationwide change in the systematic and cultural power imbalances that lead to violence against women and their children.

photo of Mary Barry Image

Our Watch Chief Executive Officer Mary Barry said that the state of Victoria continues to lead the country in its efforts to prevent violence against women and their children.

“This is evident in the number of stakeholders from diverse settings coming together today to learn about Change the Story: a shared national framework to prevent violence against women and their children in Australia and find out how they can contribute to this evidence-based national approach,” she said.

“One of the reasons Our Watch is able to work at a national level to prevent violence women and their children is because of the ground-breaking work in Victoria in primary prevention.

“One of these key milestones was The Victorian Health Promotion Foundation’s (VicHealth) 2007 Framework to prevent violence before it occurs. VicHealth were also a partner, along with Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS) in the development of Change the Story.

“The biggest risk factor for becoming a victim of sexual assault, domestic or family violence in Australia today is being a woman,” said Ms Barry. 

“Women usually experience violence and abuse at the hands of men they know, often in their own homes and often repeatedly, sometimes over many years, if not a lifetime.

“We know that to prevent violence against women we must work in a consistent and coordinated way across all areas where we live, work and play; such as schools, workplaces, and sporting organisations,” Ms Barry said.

The result of consultations with more than 400 stakeholders around the country, the Change the Story framework outlines that although there is no single cause of violence against women and their children, the evidence shows there are certain factors that consistently predict 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.

“Throughout 2016, we hope to see more Victorian workplaces, schools and individuals commit to Change the Story, because by working together we can create an Australia where our homes and communities are inclusive, equitable and safe for all,” Ms Barry said.

The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Advisory Panel on Reducing Violence against Women and their Children recently recommended that all commonwealth, state and territory governments should commit to a long-term national primary prevention strategy and Change the Story framework. 

“In Australia, one woman almost every week is killed by a current or former partner. However, the good news is that violence against women and their children is preventable and Australia has a unique opportunity to lead the world on this issue,” Ms Barry said.

In partnership with VicHealth, Our Watch is now developing Change the Story: Implementation and Evaluation guide, which will provide organisations and government with practical assistance to plan, implement and evaluate prevention initiatives that align with Change the Story.

Media contact:

Hannah Grant, Media Manager, Our Watch: 0448 844 930 or hannah.grant@ourwatch.org.au

*If you cover this story, or any story regarding violence against women and children, please include the following tagline:

“If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000. For more information about a service in your state or local area download the DAISY App in the App Store or Google Play”

About Our Watch

Our Watch’s purpose is to raise awareness and engage policy-makers and the Australian community in action to prevent violence against women and their children before it starts.

Our Watch was conceived of and brought into existence in 2013 by the Commonwealth of Australia and the State of Victoria. The Northern Territory, South Australian, Tasmanian and Queensland governments have also since become members of the organisation.

Our Watch’s work derives from the government’s commitment to the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010 – 2022 and gives expression to many of the activities in the Second Action Plan 2013–2016 – Moving Ahead