How to prevent violence against women

2 minute read
IStock 860845028 PiA Pregnant women in a class
On this page

    To stop violence against women, we have to take action to address the 4 drivers of violence against women.

    Actions to address drivers of violence

    No single person or organisation can bring about an end to violence. A collective, national effort is needed, by addressing the drivers of violence against women across all areas of society. Individuals, families, communities, organisations and systems (like the legal system) all play a role.

    Here are some examples of actions that address each of the drivers at different levels of society.

    Challenge condoning of violence against women

    This involves challenging the beliefs that justify, excuse, trivialise or downplay violence against women, or shift blame from perpetrators to victims, as well as challenging the ways these beliefs are upheld through things like workplace practices and laws.

    Examples of actions that challenge the condoning of violence include:

    calling out ideas like ‘why did she get so drunk?’ or ‘why didn’t she fight back?’, when they’re used to shift blame for violence – such as when they’re featured in media

    advocating for changes to laws that tacitly condone violence against women, for example changes to Australian federal legislation imposing a ‘positive duty’ on employers to prevent workplace sexual harassment and discrimination.

    Promote women’s independence and decision making in public life and relationships

    This means promoting women’s independence in their relationships and families, as well as promoting women’s access to resources and decision-making power in public life, including in workplaces and parliaments.

    Examples of actions that promote women’s independence and decision-making in public life and relationships include:

    programs that increase the number of women running for public office through training and networking opportunities

    workplace action plans for recruiting and retaining women in leadership positions – including things like addressing unconscious bias in recruitment

    strengthening women’s economic security through things like subsidised child-care

    programs that work with individuals to promote healthy and respectful relationships.

    Build new social norms that foster personal identities not constrained by gender stereotypes

    This involves challenging beliefs about how men and women should behave – and what they’re capable of – as well as challenging the ways these beliefs are upheld through social practices.

    Examples of actions that help build these new social norms include:

    providing baby change tables in men’s toilets as well as women’s toilets

    social marketing campaigns about why gender stereotyping is limiting

    programs that work with young people to challenge rigid gender roles and identities for women, men and people of other genders.

    Support men and boys to develop healthy masculinities and positive, supportive male peer relationships

    This involves supporting men and boys to develop healthy ideas about what it means to ‘be a man’ – and positive relationships with other men, that are not built on showing aggression, dominance, control or ‘hypersexuality’ (through things like sexual boasting).

    Examples of actions that support men and boys to develop healthy masculinities and positive peer relationships include:

    working with male sports teams to build their understanding of sexual consent, mutual pleasure and the unrealistic nature of pornography

    workplace initiatives that promote inclusive forms of leadership, not based on aggression or dominance.

    For more information about the essential actions to prevent violence against women, please read Change the story.

    Green background with publication title in black.
    • 4 resources in this collection

    Change the story outlines the essential actions needed at all levels of society to address the underlying drivers of violence against women.

    Three people are sitting in an urban office. A woman wearing a headscarf and glasses is speaking to her colleagues who are listening and talking with her.

    Find out about a ‘primary prevention’ approach that addresses the drivers of violence against women.