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.

Violence against women refers to any act of gender-based violence that results in physical, sexual or mental harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life (United Nations General Assembly 1993).

Violence against women includes a range of violent behaviours that may be criminal or non-criminal in nature, and that intend to express and maintain power and control over women.

What causes violence against women?

According to Our Watch’s ‘Change the story: A shared framework for the primary prevention of violence‘, there are four key drivers of men’s violence against women:

  • Condoning of violence against women
  • Men’s control of decision-making and limits to women’s independence in public and private life
  • Rigid gender roles and stereotyped constructions of masculinity and femininity
  • Male peer relations that emphasise aggression and disrespect towards women

Our Watch have also produced this short video that explains the link between gender inequity and violence against women.

Is it possible to prevent violence against women?

Research from VicHealth and the World Health Organization 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:

Community champions for primary prevention action in Melbourne’s west

This project produced a resource called ‘Act to Prevent Men’s Violence Against Women’. It is designed to support community groups to plan and undertake actions to prevent men’s violence against women.

It is a free resource, and can be downloaded here.