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Counting on change: A guide to prevention monitoring

A guide for policy-makers, researchers, and other stakeholders on measuring population-level progress towards the prevention of violence against women and their children in Australia.

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This Guide was developed to complement Change the story: A shared framework for the primary prevention of violence against women and their children in Australia. Change the story brings together international research, and nationwide experience, on what drives violence against women and what works to prevent it. It establishes a shared understanding of the evidence and principles of effective prevention, and presents a way forward for a coordinated national approach.  

Counting on change provides guidance on how to comprehensively measure progress towards the prevention of violence against women at the population-level.

The Guide is a world-first in identifying indicators of change for the drivers and reinforcing factors of violence against women, and advising on available data sets and processes for gathering this information into a 'picture of progress'.

Recent decades have seen significant work in terms of policies, initiatives, and campaigns to prevent violence against women and their children.

These efforts are bearing fruit – there is growing and strong evidence around what works to prevent violence against women, drawn from local and international research. Evaluation of prevention work continues to build on this evidence base, and we’ve seen positive change among those reached by prevention programs.

What’s missing is a picture of change at the national or whole-of-population level. The Guide will tell us if we are headed in the right direction overall.

Who is the guide for?

  • Governments, researchers and other stakeholders working at the national, state/territory and local levels, and at the international level.
  • Academics and researchers interested in how we measure progress towards the primary prevention of violence against women and their children.
  • Those working to promote gender equality and end violence against women in other sectors.

“Domestic violence, family violence and violence against women are often used interchangeably or together when referring to instances of violence or abuse against women and their children. They are however, by definition, different terms and refer to separate types of violence. For the purposes of consistency, the Guide uses the terms ‘violence against women’ as a general term, and ‘intimate partner violence’ and ‘non-partner sexual assault’ to describe specific types of violence against women.”

What the Guide does and does not do

  • The Guide has been developed to directly align with Change the story and so the focus is on the primary prevention of violence against women.
  • The Guide focuses on indicators that can be used to measure change against the recognised drivers and reinforcing factors of violence against women.
  • This Guide does not include a comprehensive set of measures aimed at responding to violence against women after it has occurred, although some ‘response related’ indicators are included to the extent that they reflect social attitudes towards the issue of violence against women and are therefore relevant to a prevention agenda.
  • This Guide does not provide a composite index for measuring violence against women. However, it does present a set of indicators that can track change over time.
  • This document is not a monitoring and evaluation framework for individual prevention initiatives. Rather, it provides policy-makers and relevant stakehoders with an evidence-based, best practice guide for how to measure population-level (as opposed to project-level) progress towards the elimination of violence against women. The Guide may, however, be a useful reference for policy-makers or program designers seeking to develop their own, context specific, monitoring and evaluation frameworks.
  • Monitoring population level change is only part of the measurement task. While this Guide can help guide a high level assessment of change, individual programs and projects in the community should be subject to specific and comprehensive evaluations to determine their impact at the appropriate level. Please refer to Our Watch’s handbook for practitioners, Putting the prevention of violence against women into practice: How to Change the story, for guidance on program and project level evaluation.

More tools and resources

You can find all Our Watch tools, research and reports in our resources and publications library
Understand the issue of violence against women with key statistics on our facts and figures page

Who has contributed to the development of the Guide?

Counting on change: A guide to prevention monitoring was commissioned by Our Watch in partnership with Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS). The Equality Institute was contracted to review the international literature and identify indicators for Counting on change, supported by an Advisory Group and in close consultation with other key stakeholders.

Our Watch acknowledges the valuable advice and contribution from the Advisory Group comprising members from: ANROWS; the Australian Bureau of Statistics; the Australian Institute of Family Studies; Department of Premier & Cabinet, Victorian Government (ex-officio member); 
Ministry of Health, New South Wales Government; Office for Women, South Australian Government; and the University of Melbourne. 
Other reviewers and contributors included: Northern Territory Government; Queensland Government; Australian Institute of Health and Welfare; and the Workplace Gender Equality Agency.