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Taking action on family violence

The priorities of the strategy are to eliminate family violence and other forms of violence against women in Victoria.

1. Build prevention structures and systems 

Establish a prevention agency supported by long-term funding

To implement this strategy effectively, we need to ensure prevention activities are overseen and coordinated across government, local government, community agencies and the broader community.

As recommended by the Royal Commission into Family Violence, a new prevention agency will take on this role. It will:

  • coordinate and oversee activities under this primary prevention strategy
  • monitor and provide advice on the achievement of prevention outcomes
  • commission research and innovative programs into prevention methods and activities, including identifying those that have been successful in other countries
  • fund, coordinate and support Local Prevention Alliances
  • work with Australia’s national primary prevention organisation, Our Watch, and other organisations working in the field of prevention to challenge the drivers of violence, both at the individual level (attitudes and behaviours) and in our social systems and structures.

Support development of an expert workforce 

We will build on the skill-base of current prevention practitioners in Victoria to ensure we have enough skilled prevention specialists to deliver this work.  These specialists will have the necessary expertise to support, coordinate and build the skills and capacity of the ‘generalist’ prevention workforce.

A recommendation of the Royal Commission was the development of a 10-Year Industry Plan for family violence prevention and response in Victoria. This Industry Plan will consider capability and qualifications, workforce diversity, professional development needs, career development, remuneration and workforce health and wellbeing.

The expert prevention workforce will have two main roles:

  • directly working to prevent violence
  • increasing the ability of non-specialists to carry out effective prevention as part of their usual work in everyday settings.

It will focus on influencing public and organisational policy, community engagement and actions, and reorienting ‘mainstream’ services to include prevention.

Local-level partnerships to implement prevention activity 

We will help build local-level prevention partnerships to coordinate and deliver primary prevention initiatives at the local level. These alliances will help ensure that prevention activities are coherent and support consistent outcomes across the state. We will build on existing regional and local-level prevention partnerships to ensure effective oversight and coordination of prevention activities.

Local councils are in a good position to engage and communicate with the Victorian community and can tailor their approach to be meaningful to the people who live, work, learn, socialise and play there.

2. Scale up and build on what we know 

There are already some prevention activities, programs and initiatives that have been proven to work. These programs and approaches could lead to wider changes in attitudes towards violence if they had the resources they need and could be expanded.

In order to fully succeed, these approaches need to draw on the expertise of prevention specialists while also becoming part of ‘mainstream’ settings and systems – such as the education, health and early childhood sectors, workplaces, organisations and sporting settings.

The first step will be coordinating the replication and expansion of proven and promising prevention activities across Victoria, ensuring they are evidence-based, their effects are measurable and build upon each other.

3. Innovate and inform

We will foster innovation in the design, implementation and evaluation of new techniques and programs to continue to understand what makes for effective primary prevention. New approaches will be developed for diverse communities and applied in new settings so we can better understand what works to prevent violence.

We will build on successful programs and approaches to preventing violence against women that have been developed over the last decade. We will continue to use what we’ve learned from a wide range of other successful and ongoing public health prevention initiatives as well as other social change campaigns.

We will incorporate the findings of new and emerging research evidence and program evaluations as we go. We will learn from other jurisdictions within Australia and internationally. Using this evidence and our own experience we will adapt our approach through each rolling action plan.

4. Research and evaluate 

While we have a sound evidence base for the prevention of violence against women – outlined in Change the story PDF (2.05MB) – we know less about what causes, and what works to reduce other forms of family violence including:

  • elder abuse
  • violence against people with a disability
  • adolescent violence
  • violence within LGBTI communities.

A critical aspect of this prevention strategy is an ongoing commitment to and investment in research, monitoring and evaluation. Not only will we undertake research to build knowledge about how all forms of family violence and violence against women can be prevented but we will evaluate prevention activity at a local and statewide level.

High-quality evaluations and a coordinated monitoring framework are a key priority area of this strategy. Monitoring and evaluation ensures that we are learning from our current efforts, and that our approach to prevention is consistent and coordinated across all settings.

This focus on monitoring and evaluation will help to generate high-quality violence prevention research and will position Victoria as a world leader in the field.

As a priority, we will partner with experts to build a sound research and evidence base about how to prevent all forms of family violence and violence against women, and to design and implement strategies that are consistent with emerging evidence.

5. Engage and communicate with the community 

Directly engaging the Victorian community is key to the success of this strategy. We must continue to communicate the changes we are seeing so that the community understands the value of this approach. Only with broad, ongoing community support will it be possible to create lasting change.

We will use all the communication methods available, including online and traditional media channels, as well as face-to-face forums. This should ensure messages on preventing violence reach everyone in our community, draw Victorians together to take action, and to keep Victorians informed of our progress on prevention.

What needs to be in place

There are a number of foundational elements that are crucial to the strength and successful implementation of this strategy. Without them this strategy and the activities in the 3-year rolling action plans will not achieve their full potential in reducing the prevalence of family violence and violence against women. The foundations are:

  • Prevention in universal services - We will work with a range of workplaces and workforce bodies to ensure that workplaces are key settings and advocates for prevention.
  • Dedicated and enduring funding - Historically, prevention has been underfunded. Coordinating and building the capacity of mainstream partners is critical to a truly whole-of-community approach and must be adequately resourced. 
  • Coordination and advocacy - Everyone has a role to play in preventing family violence and all forms of violence against women. To ensure a consistent approach, we will coordinate prevention activities at both state-wide and local levels.
  • Policy reform in family violence and gender equality - The success of this strategy relies on a range of policy reforms in gender equality, family violence and violence against women. In addition to policy reform, legislative changes are being made to embed gender equality in Victorian systems and structures.