Preventing violence against women

Women’s Health West is the lead agency for the prevention of violence against women in the western metropolitan region of Melbourne.

What is ‘violence against women’?

Violence against women affects all communities regardless of class, race or culture. The World Health Organisation defines violence against women as:

‘physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring in the family and in the general community, including battering, sexual abuse of children, dowry-related violence, rape, female genital mutilation and other traditional practices harmful to women, non-spousal violence and violence related to exploitation, sexual harassment and intimidation at work, in educational institutions and elsewhere, trafficking in women, forced prostitution, and violence perpetrated or condoned by the state.’

What causes violence against women?

Violence against women is caused by ongoing social inequalities between women and men including:

  • Unequal power relations between men and women
  • Adherence to gender stereotypes
  • Broader cultures of violence

Here’s a short video about what causes violence against women.

Is it possible to prevent violence against women?

Research from VicHealth and the World Health Organisation shows that violence can be prevented: it’s a matter of changing the unequal power relations and cultural norms that cause men to perpetrate violence against women in the first place, and the social structures that excuse it.

What is WHW doing to prevent violence against women?

We coordinate projects that include:

  • Implementing Preventing Violence Together: The Western Region Action Plan to Prevent Violence Against Women
  • Capacity building activities to strengthen prevention work within community health agencies and local governments
  • Lobbying for the adoption of preventing violence against women as a state-wide health promotion priority

Resource Hub

We have also collated a bank of resources for the primary prevention of violence against women. The resource hub categorises resources into logical, meaningful and useful categories that are easy to navigate to support the Preventing Violence Together Implementation Committee to implement prevention of violence against women initiatives. The resources cover identified settings for action and population groups, and are categorised to best meet the needs of practitioners.