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Our Watch statement on the National Summit on Women’s Safety

September 8, 2021 / Our Watch media

Our Watch is looking forward to actively contributing to the development of the second National Planfollowing the National Summit on Women’s Safety held this week. 

Screenshot of participants meeting on closing day of the National Women's Safety Summit.

Our Watch CEO Patty Kinnersly said listening to experts in prevention, early intervention, and response, business leaders, and those with lived experience has provided a wealth of knowledge to help shape the second National Plan. 

“The coming together of experts, stakeholders, survivor-advocates, and business leaders from around the country to discuss, listen, learn and engage with the challenges and opportunities we have to prevent violence against women, is incredibly valuable. 

The summit was a critical opportunity for all levels of governments to put gender equality at the heart of their work, but also for workplaces – big and small, sporting organisations, and the media to recognise the responsibility they all have to promote gender equality and respect to prevent violence against women.” 

Ms Kinnersly said the second National Plan must go beyond community awareness-raising and behaviour change by increasing the focus on deep structural and systemic changes to address the underlying drivers of violence against women. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a light on and amplified existing social inequalities, so it is essential there is a stronger emphasis on the development and adoption of policies that apply a ‘gendered lens’ ensuring they do not inadvertently disadvantage women and address any emerging intersecting inequalities,” Ms Kinnersly said.  

“In the development of the second National Plan there is also an opportunity to make progress across areas such as women’s decision-making power, ongoing economic inequality, and the discrimination on the basis of race, religion, Indigeneity, disability, sexuality, migration, lone parenthood and socioeconomic status, all of which affect the dynamics of violence against women. 

“Preventing violence against women requires us to come together to develop concrete short-term and long-term solutions and to build commitment to the strategies that will stop violence against women from happening in the first place.” 

Our Watch calls for the second National Plan to: 

  • Build on the strong base of existing primary prevention initiatives to stop violence against women before it starts and achieve long-term structural, attitudinal and cultural change. 
  • Secure long-term investment from all governments across prevention, intervention, and response. 
  • Ensure there is a transparent governance and coordination mechanism for the next National Plan that includes systematic engagement with non-Government organisations, experts, and survivor advocates.
  • Resource ongoing monitoring of progress in primary prevention undertaking future waves of Tracking Progress in Prevention.
  • Ensure the next National Plan includes funding for ongoing research on primary prevention. 
  • Prioritise work with men and boys to prevent harmful attitudes and behaviours and engage men who don’t use violence and want to be a part of the change including a national survey on men’s use of violence in Australia. 
  • Include training and workforce development to build a skilled workforce to design and implement primary prevention work nationwide. 
  • Ensure mechanisms to improve connections between businesses that want to be involved in prevention and experts and specialist organisations. 
  • Promote a nationally consistent and evidence-based approach to respectful relationships education that takes a whole-of-school approach. 
  • Ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities lead, design, implement and evaluate culturally appropriate and trauma-informed prevention work and responses to violence against Indigenous women. 
The Statement from Delegates – 2021 National Summit on Women’s Safety is available on the National Summit for Women’s Safety website.

Media contact

Shannon McKeogh, Senior Media and Communications Advisor (shannon.mckeogh@ourwatch.org.au or 0412 612 039) or media@ourwatch.org.au 

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

“If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, family or domestic violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000.” 

To access guides for reporting about violence against women and their children, visit Media Making Change. 

About 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.