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How to Change the story – full suite of resources


The Handbook presents the ‘how’ of primary prevention and provides detailed step-by-step guidance, tips, case studies, tools and resources to support you in undertaking your prevention work. For the best user experience we recommend downloading the document to your computer and opening in Adobe Reader.

This Handbook was developed to complement Change the story: A shared framework for the primary prevention of violence against women and their children in Australia. Change the story brings together international research, and nationwide experience, on what drives violence against women and what works to prevent it. It establishes a shared understanding of the evidence and principles of effective prevention, and presents a way forward for a coordinated national approach.

The Handbook translates that ‘big picture’ framework into ‘on-the-ground’ action. Change the story outlines the ‘what’ and ‘why’; this Handbook presents the ‘how’ of primary prevention.

Quick definition: Primary prevention – whole-of-population initiatives that address the primary (first or underlying) drivers of violence.

Is the Handbook relevant to me?

This Handbook has been written for “prevention practitioners” who are engaged in activities that aim to prevent violence against women.

We all have a role to play in preventing violence against women and everyone has the potential to become an effective prevention practitioner.

Practitioners may focus on preventing violence against women as part or all of their work and may be working in a range of settings or contexts. Here are some examples of practitioners:

  • a person employed in a role where prevention is the sole focus of their work, such as in women’s health services, prevention organisations or local government
  • a person employed in a role where prevention is an element of their work, such as educators or human resources specialists
  • a person engaged in prevention activities in a voluntary capacity in a specific program, such as a ‘champion of change’ or ambassador
  • a person employed or engaged in another role, such as a sports coach, manager, nurse, community development worker etc.

What's included?

The Handbook provides detailed step-by-step guidance, tips, case studies, tools and resources to support practitioners in undertaking their prevention work.

The key elements of primary prevention covered in the Handbook include:

  • the drivers of violence against women and essential actions to prevent violence against women
  • the link between gender inequality and violence against women
  • the key principle and good practice approaches
  • how primary prevention differs from other actions to address violence against women
  • the need to address harmful gender norms, practices and structures across multiple levels of society
  • the key settings and techniques of primary prevention
  • planning, implementing and evaluating your prevention work
  • developing and implementing a media and communications strategy.

Who had input?

Our Watch would like to acknowledge the support of VicHealth in the funding and development of this Handbook.

This Handbook draws on a large body of work undertaken by many different individuals and organisations. The Handbook was written and produced by Our Watch based on an initial draft by The Equality Institute. Valuable input on the initial version of the Handbook was provided by an Advisory Group comprising members from VicHealth, Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety, True Relationships and Reproductive Health, White Ribbon Australia, Kornar Winmil Yunti Aboriginal Corporation, YWCA Adelaide and NAPCAN.


Our Watch welcomes feedback and suggestions on how we can improve the Handbook. If you would like to give feedback please contact us here and tell us your ideas.