Respect Victoria welcomes the opportunity to respond to the Parliamentary Inquiry into family, domestic and sexual violence (the Inquiry). We understand that through this inquiry the Committee will seek to inform the next National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children (National Plan).
Respect Victoria is an organisation dedicated to the primary prevention of all forms of family violence and violence against women. Our focus is stopping violence before it starts, by changing the norms, practices and structures that allow it to happen.
Respect Victoria is a statutory authority established under the Prevention of Family Violence Act 2018 (the Act) to fulfil Recommendation 188 of the Royal Commission into Family Violence (the Royal Commission). We deliver on commitments under Recommendation 187 of the Royal Commission, Free from violence: Victoria’s strategy to prevent family violence and all forms of violence against women, May 2017 (Free from violence). We are responsible for two of the five pillars outlined in Free from violence – research and evaluation, and engage and communicate with the community. We support the other three pillars: build prevention structures and systems, scale up and build on what we know, and innovate and inform.
A world first, we are an organisation established and dedicated solely to the primary prevention of all forms and manifestations of family violence and all forms of violence against women, making the work of Respect Victoria distinct but complementary to that of primary prevention organisations like Our Watch, whose focus is on the primary prevention of violence against women and their children.
The establishment of Respect Victoria under the Act demonstrates the Victorian government’s recognition that the primary prevention of both family violence and violence against women — which is distinct from but complementary to secondary prevention (early intervention) and tertiary prevention (response) — is critical to bringing an end to violence. We exist to drive primary prevention over the long-term and ensure prevention efforts are considered and coordinated.
Respect Victoria’s legislated responsibilities under the Act include providing advice to the Victorian Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence on policy, decision making and funding. We monitor and report on trends in family violence and violence against women. We undertake and disseminate research into the drivers of family violence and all forms of violence against women. Using this research, we develop and promote best practice primary prevention programming. We provide advice about what programs work and should be invested in.
Primary prevention’s whole-of-population approach means we bring this work to all areas of Victorian life. Respect Victoria collaborates with government, industry, organisations and communities to promote awareness of and strengthen primary prevention. Informed by research, we lead social marketing campaigns and engage with stakeholders across sectors and settings to build a culture of respect for all Victorians.
The establishment of Respect Victoria and the integration of Victoria’s prevention sector into the overall response to family violence and violence against women, provides an important model for realising state and national primary prevention reforms. The next National Plan is a critical vehicle for pursuing this model.