The role local government plays in primary prevention

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    Violence against women is an issue that affects all communities across Australia. 

    Violence against women in the community also contributes to an environment of fear, perceived lack of safety and self-limiting behaviours of women. 

    The role of local government in primary prevention

    Local governments play an important role in enhancing the health, connectedness and safety of every resident in their community, so that all women, families and communities can live free from violence. 

    What councils can do to prevent violence against women 

    Practical actions that councils can take include:

    elected representatives and executive leaders showing leadership and modelling gender equality through their language, actions and decisions  

    developing and implementing council policies, services, programs and partnerships that focus  on gender equality and use a gender lens  

    providing guidance and support for community level prevention, which could include community campaigns, events, grants and other types of social infrastructure  

    facilitating community consultations that are accessible to people with a wide range of perspectives, and ensuring that everyone has a way to voice their views (don’t assume that certain people should not or do not want to be involved in having a say on a certain issue)  

    using data that identifies gender, race, religion, sexuality, disability status and socioeconomic background demographics to address social inequalities in the population that you work with.  

    These and other steps can help to ensure that council decision-making includes a focus on gender equality, within a wider vision for a safe, thriving and inclusive community. 

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    Tips to get started in the prevention of violence against women in your local council.

    The benefits of prevention for local government 

    Councils benefit from engaging in prevention by: 

    achieving an accessible, inclusive and productive workplace culture by implementing gender equality policies and practices, making councils better places for everyone to work in. 

    becoming an employer of choice, appealing to a wider range of prospective employees 

    increasing the capacity of women from diverse backgrounds to enter senior roles, thereby bringing new perspectives to leadership that can help councils be agile, effective and responsive 

    improving community representation and civic participation in council decision-making 

    reducing socioeconomic barriers for many community members through more equitable programming, planning and resource distribution 

    complying with legislative reforms such as Respect@Work 

    increasing community trust as councils become better able to meet community needs and the expectation of equality for all genders, ages, identities and abilities. 

    Case studies 

    Many local governments across Australia have already started their journey towards preventing violence against women in their workplaces and communities. 

    Check out MAV's Promising Practice Portal where councils have shared practices, projects and plans they have developed to support and advance gender equality and the prevention of violence against women in their communities.

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    Find factsheets, templates and other resources to support local government to promote gender equality and prevent violence against women.

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    • 12 resources in this collection

    12 factsheets to support councils to prevent violence against women and promote gender equality.