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Frequently Asked Questions

Primary Prevention of Violence against Women and their Children.

What is Violence?

The World Health Organization defines violence “The intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, that either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment or deprivation.

How big a problem is Violence in Australia?

Gender based violence, rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment and family and domestic violence profoundly impact millions of individuals and families across Australia and the globe and is in fact one of the greatest ongoing preventable social tragedies of our time.

In the Greater Shepparton region, we experience rates of Family Violence and Domestic Violence, Stalking, Harrassment and Threatening Behaviours at rates nearly double the state average.*

What is the difference between Family Violence, Domestic Violence and Violence against Women?

The United Nations defines violence against women as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual, or mental harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.” (1)

The definition of Family and Domestic Violence differ across various states and territories in Australia.

In Victoria Domestic Violence refers to:

Violence, abuse and intimidation between people who are currently or have previously been in an intimate relationship. The perpetrator uses violence to control and dominate the other person. This causes fear, physical harm and/or psychological harm.

Domestic violence is a violation of human rights.

In Australia can include the following: physical assault-sexual assault-verbal abuse-emotional abuse-financial abuse-technology-facilitated abuse-social abuse ; isolating someone from their friends and family-spiritual abuse – stopping someone from practicing their religion.

Family Violence for some communities, such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, prefer the term ‘family violence’ to domestic violence.

Family violence refers to violence between family members (for example children and parents) as well as intimate partners. For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, the term ‘family violence’ better reflects their understanding and experience of violence.*

* Phillips, J & Vandenbroek, P (2014) Domestic, family and sexual violence in Australia: an overview of the issues. Department of Parliamentary Services, Canberra.

How can I, my club, workplace or my neighbourhood and town stop Domestic/Family Violence and Violence against Women before it happens?

The key to stopping Family and Domestic Violence and Violence against women lies firstly in understanding what drives (causes) this violence and importantly understanding what the common myths and misconceptions about what causes this violence in the first place.

Primary Care Connect is leading the way in stopping Domestic Violence by developing and delivering education and training packages opportunities for individuals, families, neighbourhoods, towns, clubs of any type, and workplaces to participate in to learn more about and understand the causes and myths in our society.

In addition we have developed a suite of training packages that can be individually tailored across all settings our local neighbourhoods towns and communities including.

How can we STOP Violence against Women?

To stop it we have to address each of the drivers of violence. This is an emerging field of practice and it will take time however the good news is that violence against women and their children is completely preventable.

1. Challenge condoning of violence against women. Shift social support for attitudes, beliefs, behaviours, systems and practices that justify, excuse, trivialise or downplay violence against women and their children, or shift blame from the perpetrator to the victim.*

2. Promote women’s independence and decision-making in public life and relationships Equalise access to power and resources between women and men, including by strengthening women’s economic security, independence and social, political and economic participation and decision-making in public life. Challenge men’s use of controlling behaviours in relationships and the subtle normalisation of male dominance in relationships. Promote social and cultural networks and connections between women to provide sources of peer support. Support women’s collective advocacy and social movement activism to prevent violence and promote gender equality.*

3. Foster positive personal identities and challenge gender stereotypes and roles Encourage and support children, young people and adults to reject rigid gender roles and develop positive personal identities that are not constrained by gender stereotypes. Challenge aggressive, entitled and dominant constructions of masculinity and subordinate or sexualised constructions of femininity. Promote and support gender-equitable domestic and parenting practices, including through workplace initiatives.*

4. Strengthen positive, equal and respectful relations between and among women and men, girls and boys. Challenge peer relations between men that involve hostility or disrespect towards women, and attitudes that relationships between men and women are oppositional, or inevitably based on conflict. Promote positive, equal and respectful relationships between women and men, girls and boys, in all contexts.*

* Our Watch, Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS) and VicHealth. (2015) Change the story: A shared framework for the primary prevention of violence against women and their children in Australia. Melbourne:Our Watch

What does the evidence tell us about who is using Violence and who is impacted the most?

There is now an enormous body of research and evidence both nationally and internationally that clearly demonstrates that women are overwhelmingly the victims of these types of violence and that men are overwhelmingly the perpetrators of that violence.*

Nearly 95% of victims of all types of violence – whether women or men – report experiencing violence from a male perpetrator (Diemer, 2015).*

The health, social and economic impacts on victim survivors of all type of violence are immense and the majority of those impacts are experienced by women and children.

Do Men and Women experience Violence differently?

Yes! The evidence tells us that men and women experience violence very differently.

Men are more likely to experience violence in a place of entertainment at the hands of another man who is a stranger to him and women are more likely to experience violence in the home from someone they know.*

So women are more likely to have experienced violence by a known person either a current or a former partner rather than a stranger but the reverse is true for men.

Men’s violence against female partners is more likely to inflict severe injury and is to result from attempts to control, coerce, intimidate and dominate that female than women’s violence against male partners which is more likely to be in self-defence or in the defence of children when the male partner is violent.*

Female victims survivors are also more likely to live in fear before, during and after separation from a violent partner while male victims are far less likely to be afraid or intimidated.*

*(Bagshaw & Chung, Diemer, K. (2015). ABS Personal Safety Survey. Cox:2015.

Why does Domestic Violence and Violence against Women keep happening and what are these social conditions that drive Family Violence and Violence against Women?

There are 4 social conditions that drive (or cause) Family and Domestic violence:

1. Condoning of Violence. Violence keeps happening because we as a community and society continue to accept Family and Domestic Violence as part our society. We no longer accept smoking in the workplace or our clubs, restaurants and shopping centres as a result of the negative effects on all of us but we continue to hear about and witness Family and Domestic violence in homes, neighbourhoods and communities every day and collectively we condone it. Typically, there are many attitudes, beliefs and behaviours across our society that justify violence, make excuses for violence, or that trivialise or downplay Family Violence and Violence against Women. These attitudes and behaviours are likely to shift the responsibility for the violence onto the victim of violence and excuse the person choosing to use violence.

2. Men’s control of decision making in public and private life and limits to women’s decision making and independence in public life and private life where women’s autonomy in both public life and private relationships is constrained. This can include undermining of women’s decision-making and leadership in public life, or relationships where men control a woman’s personal, financial or social independence.

3. Rigid gender roles, stereotypes and responsibilities that society assigns to both men and boys and women and girls is one of these drivers. Inflexible fixed beliefs and assumptions are held that men and women are naturally suited to different tasks and responsibilities or have personalities, likes, dislikes, desires, interests and abilities that aren’t based on their individual personalities but their gender

4. Male peer relations that emphasise aggression and disrespect towards women is one of these drivers, where men and boys seek to form relationships and bond with each other by proving their masculinity through actions that are sexist, disrespectful or hostile towards women. The whole community have a stake in dealing with this issue and we can question how much value we are prepared to place on boys and men women and girls who reject male sexism, disrespect and aggression towards women.