Prevention of Violence against Women

Violence against women remains one of the most serious and pervasive issues affecting women, families, communities and society. Violence against women includes psychological, economic, emotional, physical and sexual abuse. In Australia, approximately one in three women over the age of 15 years have experienced physical assault, one in five women have experienced sexual assault, and over half of all women have experienced at least one incident of physical or sexual violence in their lifetime.

Among Victorian women aged 15-44, violence against women is the leading contributor to death, disability and ill-health. The trauma of associated with experiencing violence has devastating and widespread impacts on women’s mental and physical health. Poor mental health outcomes represent the majority of this burden of disease including depression and anxiety (62 per cent). This is followed by suicide, tobacco and alcohol use. buy essay

A review of local data demonstrates that violence against women in the
Eastern Metropolitan Region is unacceptably high. In the financial year of 2011-2012, the Victorian Police recorded 5,818 incidents of family violence in the Eastern Metropolitan Region including the seven municipalities of Boroondara, Knox, Manningham, Maroondah, Monash, Whitehorse and Yarra Ranges. It is for these reasons that Women’s Health East have identified the prevention of violence against women as a priority area.

While violence against women is prevalent and serious, evidence tells us it is preventable.

Women’s Health East work towards ending violence against women in the Eastern Metropolitan Region by addressing the underlying determinants of violence against women, which are centred around power and gender inequality. We do this through working in partnership with other organisations in a coordinated approach to Prevention of Violence against Women, through advocacy and research, and by implementing primary prevention programs within the Eastern Metropolitan Region.

Take a look at the Speaking Out program and Together for Equality & Respect, two examples of how Women’s Health East is working towards preventing violence against women in Melbourne’s East.

Check out our Resources and see the topic Violence Against Women

Together for Equality & Respect

Women’s Health East is the lead agency for Together for Equality & Respect: A Strategy to Prevent Violence Against Women in Melbourne’s East 2013 – 2017. The Strategy provides partner organisations with the opportunity to work together to prioritise, coordinate and integrate primary prevention efforts to prevent men’s violence against women.

All seven Local Governments and all eight Community Health Services, both Primary Care Partnerships, both Medicare Locals and the Regional Family Violence Partnership from within the Eastern Metropolitan Region, have all been actively involved in the consultation and/or development of this Strategy. These partners together created a powerful vision, articulating what they believe this Strategy can contribute to:

  • A society where women live free from men’s violence – where every girl and boy grows up to be equally valued, heard and respected, and with equal access to opportunities.

You can read more  about the evidence that underpins the Together for Equality & Respect Strategy or to learn more about the Action Plan and how the Strategy is contributing to the prevention of violence against women in the Eastern Metropolitan Region visit the Together for Equality & Respect website.

Together for Equality & Respect Strategy Overview coverTogether for Equality & Respect Action Plan cover 2014_TFER_Forums

Speaking Out: Media Advocacy to end Family Violence and Sexual Assault

The Speaking Out program ensures that the voices of women who have experienced family violence and sexual assault are heard through the media and public events. Led by Women’s Health East, in partnership with the Eastern Centre Against Sexual Assault (ECASA) and the Eastern Domestic Violence Service (EDVOS), the program seeks to influence a change in community attitudes and to promote the prevention of violence against women.

Established in 2011, the program’s main objectives are:

  • To provide opportunities for women who have experienced violence to undertake advocacy;
  • To recognise the importance of women’s voices and ensure that the voices of survivor advocates are heard;
  • To contribute to a more accurate, sensitive and gender equitable public discourse on violence against women;
  • To contribute to changing community attitudes and behaviours towards violence against women.

The Speaking Out program provides an opportunity for the community to hear from women survivors of sexual assault and family violence and to learn about the role we can all play in ending violence against women in our community.

2014_WhatWeDo_EMAP_Chance-to-speak-out

Survivor advocates can share not just their own stories of survival but can provide insight and expertise on how we can as a community prevent violence against women.

Our advocates can:

  • Provide personal insights on the impact of sexual assault and family violence
  • Challenge commonly held beliefs around sexual assault and family violence
  • Correct misconceptions and stereotypes about victims
  • Provide information about where women can go for support
  • Provide information to service providers on how women feel when navigating the family violence and sexual assault system
  • Encourage the community to take action to prevent violence against women.

To find out more or to book an advocate for an event or media opportunity, please contact Women’s Health East on 9851 3700 or health@whe.org.au.

Resources:

Increasing the Odds for Safety and Respect

This is a prevention project funded by the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation focusing on the link between family violence and gambling, with a view to increasing the safety of women experiencing violence from male partners and to reduce harm from gambling.

IncreasingTheOdds2The project is based in the northern and eastern metropolitan regions of Melbourne. Women’s Health East is working with Women’s Health In the North  (WHIN), family violence services, Gambler’s Help services and other health and human services providers to increase knowledge about the link between family violence  and gambling and to strengthen risk assessment mechanisms, referral pathways and service delivery across these sectors.

It evolved from research indicating that family violence is three times more likely to occur in families in which there is significant harm from gambling than in families in which there is no harm from gambling[i]. Although the link between these issues is acknowledged in both Australian and international literature, it is not yet well researched or understood, nor is it comprehensively addressed at the prevention or response level. Current service delivery structures do not always provide an integrated response to women experiencing violence in homes where there is also harm from gambling, and there are no formal referral  pathways between gambling support and family violence services in Victoria. Similarly there are no other current prevention strategies in Victoria that specifically  address both family violence and gambling-related harm.

 

Project Activities 

The Increasing the Odds for Safety and Respect project has produced a range of resources to assist service providers and policy makers to understand the link between family violence and gambling-related harm:

 

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Current work

9WHIN and WHE are pleased to advise that the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation is continuing to fund the Increasing the Odds for Safety and Respect project until June 2017.

During this time, project staff are working on the following activities: 

  • Resource development with messaging relating to the primary prevention of violence against women and the prevention of harm from gambling;
  • Professional development for the family violence and Gambler’s Help sectors; and
  • Community education and awareness-raising about the link between family violence and gambling.

If you would like us to come and speak about the project, please contact us on the details below.

Project details

Women’s Health In the North, Women’s Heath East, Inner East Primary Care Partnership and North East Primary Care Partnership are the project partners. Funding has been secured from the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation until June 2017.

For more information contact Bron Martin at Women’s Health East on bmartin@whe.org.au  (03) 9851 3700, or Monique Keel at Women’s Health In the North on moniquek@whin.org.au (03) 9484 1666.


 

[i] Dowling, N. A., Ewin, C., Youssef, G. J., Thomas, S. A., & Jackson, A. C. Problem gambling and family violence: Findings from a population representative community study. Manuscript in preparation.