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Forum outcomes paper: A focus on men and masculinities in preventing violence against women

October 2021 / 25 minutes reading time

Key terms

  • Primary prevention
  • Prevention strategies
  • Inequality and discrimination
  • Masculinities

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Executive summary

A summary of two June 2021 National Primary Prevention Hub events.

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International and Australian research shows there are clear links between dominant forms and patterns of masculinity and violence against women, and that addressing masculinities and effectively engaging men in prevention efforts is essential to reducing and preventing this violence.

This paper reports on two events hosted by Our Watch as part of the National Primary Prevention Hub (the Hub) in June 2021 which sought to explore how practitioners across Australia are already doing this vital work, and opportunities to strengthen focus for future efforts:

  1. a webinar with panel discussions of case studies to explore current approaches to addressing masculinities and engaging men in preventing violence against women
  2. a discussion forum with practitioners to reflect on opportunities and challenges in this work.

The discussion forum focused on the following key themes:

  • why effectively working with men and addressing masculinities is an important aspect of our national approach to primary prevention
  • the evidence-based principles that can guide how we do this work
  • examples of promising practice, including work that centres an intersectional approach.

This paper summarises the case studies and key themes that emerged from the two events in order to promote knowledge sharing across the sector.

This forum paper was prepared for Our Watch and the National Primary Prevention Hub by Sarah McCook.

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Key points


Translating principles into practice: Examples of promising practice

Key themes emerging from practitioner discussions



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Crenshaw, K (1989) Demarginalizing the intersection of race and sex: A black feminist critique of antidiscrimination doctrine, feminist theory and antiracist politics, University of Chicago Legal Forum.
Crenshaw, K (1991) Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, identity politics, and violence against women of color, Stanford Law Review, 43(6), pp. 1241-1299.


Our Watch (2019) Men in focus: Unpacking masculinities and engaging men in the prevention of violence against women, pp. 78-80.
Salter, M (2016) ‘Real men don’t hit women’: Constructing masculinity in the prevention of violence against women, Australian & New Zealand Journal of Criminology, 49(4), pp. 463-479.


Our Watch & Horsley, P (2017) Primary prevention of family violence against people from LGBTI communities, Our Watch, Melbourne.
Carman, M, Fairchild, J, Parsons, M, Farrugia, C, Power, J & Bourne, A (2021) Pride in prevention: A guide to primary prevention of family violence experienced by LGBTIQ communities, Rainbow Health Victoria & the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet, Melbourne.




Our Watch, Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS) & VicHealth (2015) Change the story: A shared framework for the primary prevention of violence against women and their children in Australia, Our Watch, Melbourne, pp. 21, 45.


An intersectional approach addresses the intersections between multiple forms of social inequality, rather than focusing on gender inequality in isolation. Intersectional prevention work requires a structural and systemic focus to address the social systems, structures, norms and practices that create complex intersecting forms of discrimination and privilege, and that influence patterns of perpetration as well as experiences of violence.


A gender transformative approach aims to transform the prevailing social systems and structures that produce and maintain gender inequality and drive violence against women. In order to be gender transformative, prevention work must actively challenge and change (rather than inadvertently reinforce or perpetuate) those harmful gendered social norms, structures and practices. See further: Our Watch (2019) Change the story three years on: Reflections on uptake and impact, lessons learned and Our Watch’s ongoing work to embed and expand the evidence on prevention, Our Watch, Melbourne.


Our Watch, ANROWS & VicHealth (2015) Change the story, pp. 21, 33-34.


Carman, M, Fairchild, J, Parsons, M, Farrugia, C, Power, J & Bourne, A (2021) Pride in prevention, pp. 9-10.



Our Watch (2019) Men in focus: Unpacking masculinities and engaging men in the prevention of violence against women.
Carman, M, Fairchild, J, Parsons, M, Farrugia, C, Power, J & Bourne, A (2021) Pride in prevention.


Diemer, K (2015) ABS Personal Safety Survey: Additional analysis on relationship and sex of perpetrator, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, pp. 4-6.