|Conducted by||Respect Victoria|
The inaugural Progress on Preventing Family Violence and Violence Against Women in Victoria report details progress on prevention from late 2018 to the end of 2021, and articulates the progress made as a state. It outlines the significant advancements made in prevention, including legislative change and community shifts, and speaks to the next steps needed to ensure prevention remains a priority in Victoria.
- Primary prevention of family violence and violence against women in Victoria has advanced significantly since 2018. Building on the existing work of dedicated organisations and individuals, the past three years have led to promising signs of community change and improved prioritisation of prevention.
- Progress on prevention continues to be a collaborative effort. The Free from Violence strategy, a sound national conceptual framework, legislative change, strengthened focus in non-government organisations, the continuing work of regional and local partnerships and establishment of Respect Victoria as a dedicated statutory agency have all helped set the scene.
- Change is underway but not yet as widescale and sustainable as is needed. Victoria is still at the early stages of a long-term process—shifts in norms and behaviours are uneven, and progress is vulnerable to disruption and ongoing resistance from many directions.
- Significant investment over recent years has been widely welcomed, resulting in more Victorians than ever before engaging in prevention efforts. To achieve change across the whole of Victoria, further investment—commensurate with the size and scale of the task of prevention—will be required.
- Victorians consistently rank family violence as a high priority issue, but some outdated attitudes linger. While many Victorians are able to identify inappropriate behaviours, many still show low support for gender equality in relationships and hold views that support or condone violence. A sizeable minority, predominantly men, is unlikely to challenge inequality, sexist behaviours and aggressive forms of masculinity.
- Nearly two-thirds of experts and community leaders surveyed saw increases in Victorians actively challenging attitudes and behaviours that condone violence. However, only 30% saw increased confidence to do this among men and boys.
- A large number of new promising prevention initiatives and projects have been implemented over the three-year period in a variety of community settings, but this work has often been too short-term and limited in scope to shift broader institutions, structures and cultures on a whole-of-setting basis.
- Social marketing campaigns have been a valuable feature of prevention effort in Victoria. This has effectively raised community awareness and prompted many to think and act differently, although campaigns have not been delivered at the intensity required, nor linked enough to other prevention activities to shift behaviour sustainably.
- Significant work has begun with particular populations, including Aboriginal communities, to develop and implement action based on understanding of the intersectional drivers of family violence and violence against women. This needs considerable further development and embedding.
- There have been clear advances in creating an effective prevention system with investments in workforce capability, research, evaluation and data sharing. Stronger coordination is required to ensure a cohesive effort linking local and state-wide activity, specialist and non-specialist agencies and leadership across different community settings.