What is Respect Victoria?

Respect Victoria is an organisation dedicated to the primary prevention of all forms of family violence, for all Victorians.

Our role is to build on Victoria’s primary prevention platform and continue the government’s work to address gender inequality as a root cause of family violence, as well as other forms of discrimination and inequality.

We work to prevent family violence against all Victorians, including women, men, LGBTI people, Aboriginal Victorians, people from culturally and linguistically diverse communities, people with a disability, older people, children and young people.

We ensure primary prevention efforts reflect diverse communities and work with partners across a range of settings, including rural and regional Victoria, education and care settings, workplaces, community organisations, faith-based and cultural organisations, sport, the arts and media.

What will Respect Victoria do?

Respect Victoria’s key functions are research and evaluation, and community engagement.

Our organisation leads research exploring how to prevent family violence before it starts, building on Victoria's strong primary prevention platform and improving the way government, organisations and the community work together to prevent family violence.

This includes providing advice to government and organisations to ensure prevention methods are implemented across government and the community. Respect Victoria ensures quality primary prevention programming is core business of the Victorian government.

Respect Victoria is committed to engaging with the whole Victorian community to shift the culture that allows family violence to happen in the first place. This includes communications and public relations activities, behavioural change and active bystander campaigns.

Our community engagement is based on up to date, high quality evidence and knowledge. Respect Victoria raises awareness in the community through programs, activities and campaigns. We are committed to promoting equality and respect across the whole community, and believe every Victorian has a role to play in preventing family violence.

Respect Victoria will report on progress in the prevention of family violence, and table a report to Parliament on trends and outcomes in primary prevention every three years.

How is Respect Victoria different from other prevention and family violence organisations?

Respect Victoria is a dedicated agency focused on addressing all forms of family violence, rather than focusing specifically on men’s violence against women and their children (the focus of Our Watch), or broader health promotion (the remit of VicHealth) or the response system (the focus of Family Safety Victoria).

Respect Victoria addresses the significant market gap in preventing family violence for all Victorians. Working with key partners, Respect Victoria aims to prevent family violence against women, men, children and young people, people with a disability, older people, people with diverse gender and sexual identities, and people from diverse cultural backgrounds, by driving high-quality evidence and communicating these findings with government, community and organisations.

How will Respect Victoria work with government?

Respect Victoria works collaboratively with the Victorian government to support its broader plan for family violence reform. The government will continue to deliver primary prevention programs and grants. Respect Victoria provides strategic advice to government about quality, evidence-based programming.

Respect Victoria also works with local government, and local and regional alliances as key partners in the primary prevention of family violence.

How is Respect Victoria being established?

Establishment of Respect Victoria as a Statutory Authority was subject to the passage of the Prevention of Family Violence Bill 2018. The Bill passed the Legislative Assembly on 9 August and the Legislative Council on 23 August, 2018. The Legislative Assembly agreed to amendments made by the Legislative Council on 5 September 2018 effectively enshrining Respect Victoria in law as a Statutory Authority. Respect Victoria became a fully functioning Statutory Authority in October 2018.

What does the Prevention of Family Violence Bill 2018 do?

The Bill established Respect Victoria as a Statutory Authority. This means our functions, powers and duties are protected by law. The Bill ensures the primary prevention of family violence – stopping family violence before it starts - is protected in legislation.

What is the rationale for the Bill?

The Victorian government announced it would establish Respect Victoria as a new organisation dedicated to preventing family violence on 29 March 2018.

Establishing Respect Victoria as a Statutory Authority fulfils Recommendation 188 of the Royal Commission into Family Violence. It also delivers on the commitments outlined in Free from violence: Victoria’s strategy to prevent family violence and all forms of violence against women.

Expert evidence presented to the Royal Commission into Family Violence showed that funding for family violence focused mostly on response, an important and necessary focus. However the only way to reduce the overall prevalence of family violence is primary prevention. Primary prevention stops violence before it starts by addressing the underlying factors that drive it. Decreasing demand for family violence services and support has significant economic benefits.

The Royal Commission into Family Violence identified the need to resource an enduring primary prevention initiative. A dedicated initiative ensures prevention efforts are not ad-hoc or disconnected. Meaning the existing focus on crisis response is matched by a focus on primary prevention. This means we address all forms of family violence in all Victorian communities.

How will Respect Victoria be governed?

The Prevention of Family Violence Bill 2018 established Respect Victoria’s Chair, Board, CEO and governance structure.

The Board of Respect Victoria is skills-based and drawn from diverse sectors. Members have expertise in a range of areas, including prevention of family violence and violence against women, communications, cultural diversity, law, primary health, financial management, risk management and governance.

The Governor in Council appointed Board members on the recommendation of the Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence. The Board is independent of the Department of Health and Human Services, and at arm’s length from government.

The Board undertakes an annual review of Respect Victoria’s financial performance, and presents its report to the Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence who tables the report in parliament.

Why is the Respect Victoria model being established?

The organisation is enshrined in legislation outlining the governance of the Statutory Authority. It acknowledges the Agency’s work addressing two major roles and functions, these are research and evaluation as well as community engagement.

Establishing Respect Victoria as a Statutory Authority fulfilled Recommendation 188 of the Royal Commission into Family Violence, delivering on the commitments outlined in Free from Violence: Victoria’s strategy to prevent family violence and all forms of violence against women.

By providing Respect Victoria with autonomy and independence from government, the organisation is impartial; enabling the Agency to advocate and lobby to and with government on behalf of all Victorians; and enabling the organisation to establish formal and informal partnerships with external parties outside of government, working towards a Victoria free from violence.