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Reducing Violence against Women and their Children Community of Practice (Victoria)

Our Watch ran a series of five workshops to support practitioners who were implementing projects to prevent violence against women and their children. To find out about our community of practice please read on.

What is a community of practice?

Prevention of violence against women and their children is a new and growing area of work. Practitioners are constantly exploring new ways to work with their communities, or help organisations such as sporting clubs, councils or workplaces to prevent violence. 

They can benefit from sharing knowledge, experience, new evidence and resources with others working on the same issue in different settings or locations. 

A community of practice is a place for practitioners to do just that – whether through workshops, online, or other methods. Here’s what one participant had to say about the need for communities of practice:

“This is such an emerging area. To have the space to talk about strategies and emerging good practice is like having a reference library in front of you…That’s why we’re a community of practice. We might be doing stuff, it’s not working, and then someone says, ‘We’re doing it this way.’ So what we’re doing might just need a tweak.”


What did Our Watch do for prevention practitioners?

Our Watch ran five workshops with the practitioners delivering prevention projects, funded by the Department of Justice and Regulation under its Reducing Violence against Women and their Children grants, part of the Victorian Government’s Community Crime Prevention Program. These sessions were delivered between October 2014 and October 2015.

The Community of Practice provided opportunities for practitioners to: 
  • share information, experiences, skills, knowledge and resources 
  • support one another through challenges and difficulties 
  • develop relationships 
  • take part in group learning on violence prevention topics.

What were the Reducing Violence against Women and their Children grants?

From October 2012 through to December 2015, The Victorian Department of Justice and Regulation funded eight projects across Victoria under the Reducing Violence Against Women and Children grants program  to address a range of issues that contribute to violence against women. These projects, and the Community of Practice, were funded under the Victorian Government’s Community Crime Prevention Program.

Did the community of practice make a difference?

Our Watch completed an evaluation report  to determine if the community of practice met its agreed aims and to make recommendations for running future communities of practice for those working on violence prevention. Overall, the evaluation findings indicated that the Community of Practice was immensely valuable to the participants and enhanced their work. We can conclude that the Community of Practice met and exceeded each of its three key aims. The Department of Justice and Regulation funded model and evaluation report provides a valuable guide to policy makers and practitioners to maximise future primary prevention initiatives.