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Free from violence

Victoria's strategy to prevent family violence and all forms of violence against women


This strategy is an integral element of the government’s broader family violence system reform.

It fulfils Recommendation 187 of the Royal Commission into Family Violence and is a key part of the 10-year plan Ending family violence: Victoria’s plan for change.


Free from violence is Victoria's strategy to end family violence and all forms of violence against women. Everyone in the community has a role to play. What can you do? Watch and share this video.

Free from violence - Victoria's prevention strategy.pdf Free from violence - Victoria's prevention strategyPDF (9.58 MB) Free from violence - Victoria's prevention strategy.doc Free from violence - Victoria's prevention strategyDOC (304 KB)

The focus of this strategy is on preventing 2 overlapping and related forms of violence:

  • family violence
  • violence against women.

The scope of this strategy is primary prevention – preventing violence before it occurs by focusing on settings where inequality and violent behaviour are shaped. The aim is to build social structures, norms and practices that prevent, or reduce the risk of, violence.

The time for change is now

Violence is unacceptable and inexcusable, yet family violence and violence against women are prevalent across Victoria.

Of women over the age of 15:


  • 1 in 3 has experienced physical violence
  • 1 in 4 has experienced physical or sexual violence
  • 1 in 5 has experienced sexual violence. 

While there is no comprehensive data on all people who experience violence, the following Australia-wide statistics prove the urgent need for change:

  • every 2 minutes family violence results in a police call-out
  • 95% of male and female victims report a male perpetrator
  • on average at least one woman a week is killed by a partner or former partner
  • women are 5 times more likely than men to require hospitalisation due to family violence.

Some groups of women are disproportionately affected, including those with a disability and Aboriginal women.

Far-reaching impacts

The impacts of family violence can include:

  • deteriorated physical and mental health
  • loss of housing
  • loss or limited access to employment
  • precarious financial security
  • isolation and alienation of extended family/social support
  • negative impact on development of children who witness it
  • death.

In addition to these personal impacts, there are substantial social and economic costs. Estimates suggest that the annual cost of family violence in Victoria in 2014-15 was approximately $3.1 billion.

The Royal Commission found the demand for family violence response and crisis services has eclipsed efforts in prevention. By committing to addressing all 227 recommendations made by the Royal Commission, the Victorian Government has signalled that the time for change is now.

Stopping it before it starts

The ‘primary prevention’ of family violence means stopping violence in the first place by identifying the social norms, structures and practices that influence individual attitudes and behaviours that lead to violence. It requires the whole community to drive social and cultural change.

Men, women, young people and children in all parts of the community can play an active role in prevention. Prevention will only be effective when the whole community is involved in changing attitudes and challenging the cultures that can lead to violence.

Free from violence aims to ensure that every Victorian is aware of the drivers of violence and what needs to be done to address them, as well as their individual responsibility to prevent it. For example, the strategy highlights the role of gender inequality and discrimination, and inequality more broadly, as well as the need to challenge those occurrences in everyday life.

Education of the public re [sic] violence and statements relating to violence needs to be addressed. Statements such as “it’s the alcohol that does it”, “she provoked me”, “she knows how to push my buttons” are not acceptable… Media needs to show it’s not right to denigrate any person.

[Anonymous submission to the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence]

Primary prevention is typically delivered through workplaces, schools and other common settings. There are also more targeted interventions within specific communities and groups.

The complex and deeply entrenched causes or ‘drivers’ of family violence mean that a sustained approach to prevention is needed.

An effective primary prevention approach will support and complement early intervention and crisis response efforts by reducing pressure on these other parts of the system.

Prevention strategy overview.pdf Prevention strategy overviewPDF (1.03 MB)Prevention strategy overview.doc Prevention strategy overviewDOC (77.5 KB)Free from violence - references and resources.pdf Free from violence - references and resourcesPDF (521.95 KB) Free from violence - references and resources Free from violence - references and resourcesDOC (113.5 KB)

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