Where we are on the journey

This annual report provides an overview of progress and achievements under each priority area in Year One (2018-19), and where we are headed next.

Foundation for the future

Since the launch of the First Action Plan in January 2018, there has been significant activity that is laying the foundations for primary prevention efforts over the next ten years. Progress has been made against each action, and we are on track to deliver on our commitments in the First Action Plan.

This annual report provides an overview of progress and achievements under each priority area in Year One (2018-19), and where we are headed next.

While we have made significant investment and progress in primary prevention to date, we are still at the very beginning of our journey towards a Victoria that is free from violence (Figure 1). Our experience in other health promotion and prevention work, like anti-tobacco and road safety campaigns, has taught us that it will take time to see results. However, we’ve made the best start possible with strengthened primary prevention infrastructure and programming in Year One.

Victoria’s progress under the First Action Plan Victoria’s progress under the First Action Plan against the expected process of change in the prevention of violence against women, as outlined by Our Watch in Counting on Change: A guide to prevention monitoring (timeframes are indicative)

Key achievements

We made a number of key achievements in Year One that will contribute to achieving outcomes under Free from Violence. These include:

  • the establishment of Respect Victoria, Victoria’s first dedicated primary prevention agency that will lead the state’s research, public engagement and behaviour change agendas
  • more primary prevention initiatives being delivered than ever before, with leaders and partners embedded across the state, including in:
    • 35 local government councils
    • 24 Aboriginal-led organisations
    • 21 community-led organisations
    • over 70 organisations that support culturally, linguistically and religiously diverse communities
  • a stronger, more capable specialist prevention sector, through roll out of capacity building support in 12 women’s health services and dedicated training provided to 64 practitioners (and counting)
  • new and further research into the intersectional drivers of family violence and what works to prevent it, including new evidence-based guidance for promoting bystander action and engaging men and boys
  • widespread community awareness and engagement in preventing violence against women, with Respect Victoria’s Respect Women: ‘Call it Out’ campaigns resonating with half of all Victorians

Top achievement

Respect Victoria

In response to recommendation 188 of the Royal Commission into Family Violence, Respect Victoria was established on 4 October 2018 as an independent statutory authority under the Family Violence Prevention Act 2018.

The first agency of its kind in Australia, Respect Victoria is dedicated to the primary prevention of all forms of family violence and violence against women. Its focus is on stopping violence before it starts by changing the norms, practices and structures that allow it to happen. Respect Victoria is central to the Victorian Government’s commitment to achieving the vision of a Victoria free from violence, and is responsible for leading efforts under two priorities areas in the First Action Plan:

  • research and evaluate
  • engage and communicate with the community

Year One facts and figures

1 in 2 Victorians are able to recall the Respect Women: ‘Call it Out’ campaign and its key messages unprompted.

3 in 5 Victorians report they would speak up if a family violence situation was occurring, in response to Respect Women: ‘Call it Out’.

1,000+ Government, Catholic and independent schools implementing the whole school approach to Respectful Relationships education.

1,500+ members in the Partners in Prevention network supporting Respectful Relationships education in schools.

35 Councils supported to deliver innovative primary prevention projects in their workplaces and communities.

12 women’s health services supported to build primary prevention capacity in its workforce and with its partners.

70+ Organisations funded to build the capacity of and undertake primary prevention activities with culturally, linguistically and religiously diverse communities.

24 Aboriginal-led organisations supported to design and deliver primary prevention activities in their communities.

21 Community organisations supported to design and deliver innovative prevention projects.

Reaching people where they live, work, learn and play

In Year One, the Office for Women in the Department of Premier and Cabinet led oversight of the delivery of over 130 mutually reinforcing primary prevention initiatives in a range of settings, sectors and with priority groups. These are encompassed in seven key programs, as well as other discrete projects and initiatives delivered in partnership across government, the prevention sector and with community organisations. These combined efforts are driving implementation of the First Action Plan. The seven key programs are:

  • Women’s Health Services Workforce Capacity Building program
  • Prevention Workforce Learning and Development program
  • Free from Violence Local Government Grants
  • Free from Violence Innovation Fund
  • Aboriginal Family Violence Primary Prevention Innovation Fund
  • Tertiary Education settings program
  • Workplace Equality and Respect in the public sector

Other primary prevention initiatives that sit outside the First Action Plan are also contributing to achieving outcomes under Free from Violence. Examples of these include Respectful Relationships education in Victorian schools, Aboriginal-led prevention under Dhelk Dja: Safe Our Way – Strong Culture, Strong Peoples, Strong Families, and the Multicultural Affairs Family Violence Prevention Work Package.

The collective effect of this work marks the beginning of a universal primary prevention platform that will ensure all Victorians engage with primary prevention messaging at every stage of their lives (Figure 2). These mutually reinforcing strategies are necessary to effect long-term behaviour and attitude change.

Figure 2: Examples of primary prevention initiatives across the life-course in Victoria
Infancy Baby Makes 3 is a primary prevention initiative developed by Carrington Health, to support new parents to negotiate their gendered roles and identities and to develop equitable relationships in their transition to new parenthood.
Early childhood All Come Out to Play! is a joint primary prevention initiative of Playgroup Victoria and Drummond Street Services. During a 40-minute playgroup session children and their parents learn about gender equality and respectful relationships through storytelling, song and dance. Girls are encouraged to be assertive and boys are encouraged to communicate their feelings.
Childhood Respectful Relationships education is a whole school primary prevention approach, and a core part of the Victorian Curriculum. Respectful Relationships education is about creating a culture of respect, building students' personal resilience and supporting gender equality. The whole school approach focuses on embedding a culture of respect and equality in all aspects of school life.
Adolescence Good People Act Now is a youth-led community group in Broadmeadows that works to promote gender equality and end violence against women. The group builds understanding and skills in bystander action and respectful relationships through community campaigns, local events, sporting clubs and schools in a variety of ways, including live performance, info sessions, movie making and social media.
Early adulthood The Respect and Equality Program is a pilot whole-of-institution approach to prevent violence against women in universities, with a specific focus on sexual violence. The project is a national partnership between Our Watch, Universities Australia and the Victorian Government that will extend Respectful Relationships education into tertiary education. Two Victorian universities are participating in the pilot.
Adulthood The Workplace Equality and Respect Project is a primary prevention program delivered by Our Watch to workplaces through partnerships with relevant organisations. Workplace Equality and Respect comprises a package of evidence-based standards and tools to support workplaces to take action to prevent violence against women.
Older adulthood Elder Abuse Prevention Networks link local organisations such as health centres, council home carers, and seniors' clubs to raise awareness of elder abuse and implement local prevention strategies. Ten Elder Abuse Prevention Networks have been established to date.