Violence against women is a national crisis. It is preventable.

3 mins
Author: Patty Kinnersly
Posted: 19 Jul, 2023
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    Five women have been allegedly killed by a current or former partner over the past two weeks.

    Their deaths and the devastation caused to those who knew them was not inevitable. Violence against women is preventable and every person in Australia has a role to play in stopping the violence.

    The research is absolutely clear: the drivers of violence against women are disrespect towards women, rigid gender stereotypes, men feeling they should control or have power over women, and social norms and attitudes that condone this violence. 

    The research suggests that these harmful norms, attitudes and behaviours exist on a wide spectrum – meaning that sexist, disrespectful jokes and comments do matter; that put-downs and controlling behaviour do cause harm, and that these all contribute to an environment in which men’s violence against women is more likely. 

    Stopping the violence before it starts means that we must have some tough conversations – about men and harmful versions of masculinity, about gendered power imbalances, and patterns of abuse and control. And about how we can all promote and support relationships based on respect and equality, everywhere we live, work and play. 

    Changing deeply held attitudes and stereotypes is hard, and it is long-term, generational change. It requires every section of society to be involved.

    Employers have a crucial role in showing leadership and creating workplaces that are equal and safe. One in two women has experienced sexual harassment. At the current rate of improvement, women will not achieve equal pay for another 200 years. Gender equality needs to be part of the fabric of our workplaces.

    Schools have a role to play in teaching young people about respectful relationships, consent and how to recognise discrimination and challenge harmful gender stereotypes. Our kids deserve to grow up in a country where everyone is equal. Our schools and educational institutions are the building blocks for creating that future.  

    Our sporting clubs are home to respected community role models and have a particularly important role in challenging gender stereotypes and violence against women.

    How media report violence against women is also important. Good reporting can influence how women understand their experiences of violence, and whether they choose to speak out or seek support.  It can influence the way perpetrators understand their choices to use violence and that these choices are not acceptable. Importantly, it helps to educate the community, shape public opinion and inspire change.

    And finally, we need every man to find the courage to call out their mates when they are disrespecting women or excusing or making light of violence. It’s so easy for silence to be interpreted as condoning problematic attitudes, and it can be as simple as having a quiet word with your mate about why what they said was harmful.

    It’s often only the tragic and violent death of a woman that makes headlines, but violence against women is happening in every suburb, in every community, across our country. It is not inevitable. Everyone has the power to play a part in changing the story and stopping violence before it starts.

    First published in Australian Community Media, 19 July 2023.

    Media contact

    Please contact or call 0448 844 930.

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

    1800RESPECT is the national domestic, family, and sexual violence counselling, information and support service. If you or someone you know is experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, domestic, family or sexual violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732, chat online via, or text 0458 737 732.

    To access guides for reporting about violence against women and their children, visit

    Our Watch

    Our Watch is a national leader in Australia’s work to stop violence against women and their children before it starts. The organisation was created to drive nation-wide change in the practices, norms, and structures that lead to violence against women and children.