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Preventing Violence against Women in Our Community

Maroondah City Council is committed to preventing violence against women by focussing on addressing violence before it occurs.

What is violence against women?

  • Any act directed at a woman that results in, or is likely to result in physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering. This includes threats of such behaviour and abuse that is verbal, emotional, social and/or financial in nature. [Reference 1]
  • Family violence and sexual assault are the most pervasive forms of violence experienced by women in Victoria. [Reference 2]
  • Whilst anyone can be a victim of family violence or sexual assault, it is predominantly committed by men against women, children and other vulnerable persons. [Reference 3]
  • Evidence suggests that most violence against women is perpetrated by a male acquaintance, intimate partner, or other relative. [Reference 4]

Violence against women is serious:

  • Violence in the home is the biggest contributor to death, disability and health problems for Victorian women aged 15-45.
  • Family violence and sexual assault perpetrated against women costs the nation $13.6 billion each year.
  • Violence against women has devastating effects on women and girl’s long-term physical and mental health, with serious ramifications for the wellbeing of families, communities and societies.

Violence against women is prevalent:

  • 1 in 3 women have experienced physical violence from the age of 15.
  • Nearly 1 in 5 women have experienced sexual violence since the age of 15. [Reference 5]
  • According to the latest Victoria Police figures, Knox recorded the highest rate of reported family violence incidents in the Eastern Metropolitan Region of Melbourne.

A focus on prevention

While it is important to improve responses to incidents of violence, it is equally critical that investment and commitment is made to creating a future where women can live free from violence.

It is possible to prevent violence before it occurs by addressing the underlying causes or determinants of violence against women.

The key determinants of violence against women are:

  • Unequal power relations between men and women
  • Adherence to rigid stereotypes
  • Broader cultures of violence.

Preventing violence against women is about building systems, cultures, organisations, and communities that are safe and inclusive of women and promote equal and respectful relationships between men and women.

For more information on the determinants and contributing factors to violence against women please visit the VicHealth Preventing Violence Against Women website.

Initiatives

We are involved in many initiatives to prevent violence against women in our community, including:

2014 - Preventing Violence against Women in Our Community project

Maroondah City Council partnered with Knox City Council and Yarra Ranges Council on a Victorian Government funded project called Preventing Violence against Women in Our Community. The project ran from November 2011 to December 2014.

Key project highlights include:

  • Maroondah City Council take the White Ribbon pledge at Ringwood Golf 2014Inclusion of an updated family violence clause in the Maroondah Enterprise Bargaining Agreement 2014 that provides extended leave entitlements for employees experiencing family violence.
  • Inclusion of Preventing Violence Against Women as a key direction within the Maroondah Community Wellbeing Plan 2013-2017.
  • Participation in and leadership of the “A Gender Lens for Leisure” project that produced a suite of recommendations on how to promote the greater participation, inclusion and respect of women and girls in sport and recreation activities. 
  • Launch of the Maroondah Pledge to raise awareness in the community of violence against women, gain community support to take action and publicly signal Council’s commitment to addressing the issue. The Pledge received over 1000 signatures from community supporters.
  • Establishment of the Maroondah White Ribbon Cup as Maroondah’s annual premium golfing event, along with Run Maroondah – both of which support White Ribbon. Giant White Ribbon banner erected on the Eastlink/Ringwood Golf site (see image).

For more information about the outcomes of the Preventing Violence against Women In Our Community Project, please see the final project report (PDF, 3.28MB)

Campaigns

2015-2016 - 1 Million Stars To End Violence Project

The 1 Million Stars To End Violence Project brings people together across Australia and the world to weave stars as an expression of support for ending all forms of violence, including violence against women and children; bullying; homophobia; transphobia; elder abuse; and racism. Stars have been chosen as a symbol of light and hope.

We have registered to be a WEave100 community. One hundred communities across Australia have committed to weaving 10,000 stars each. The Maroondah stars will form part of an exhibition at Realm in November 2016, before becoming part of the 1 Million Stars installation in Brisbane in March 2018.

2015 - See Past the Stereotype Campaign

The #SeePastTheStereotype campaign aimed to create awareness about gender stereotyping and to make people think twice before assuming something about someone else based on their gender.

As part of the campaign, three videos were produced to support the Preventing Violence against Women in Our Community (PVAWC) project between Knox City Council, Maroondah City Council and Yarra Ranges Council.

The videos were created to challenge the gender stereotypes and harmful attitudes towards women which contribute to creating a culture that condones, excuses and perpetuates violence against women.

A fourth video drew attention to the underlying causes of violence against women; the prevalence and seriousness of violence against women: and ways it is possible to have an impact. It also highlighted the work the three Councils had undertaken to contribute to preventing violence against women project.

#SeePastTheStereotype - some people still think it's more natural for women to look after children

#SeePastTheStereotype - some people still think a woman can't be career focussed and have a family


#SeePastTheStereotype - some people still think a woman can't do jobs involving technical skills or manual labour

Family Violence and Sexual Assault Services

If you, or someone you know, needs help with family violence or sexual assault, please refer to our Family Violence & Sexual Assault Support Services page for a list of services available.

For further information on Maroondah City Council initiatives, please contact:
Noelene Greene, Program Manager Community Planning and Development on 9294 5748 or noelene.greene@maroondah.vic.gov.au

Robyn Williams, Community Safety Officer on 9294 5745 or robyn.williams@maroondah.vic.gov.au

References

[1] United Nations General Assembly. 1993. Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, at www.un-documents.net/a48r104.htm
[2] Victorian Government [Former]. 2009. A Right to Respect: Victoria’s Plan to Prevent Violence Against Women 2010-2020. Office of Women’s Policy: Victoria, Australia.
[3] Family Violence Protection Act, 2008.
[4] VicHealth. 2007. Preventing violence before it occurs: A framework and background paper to guide the primary prevention of violence against women in Victoria. Victorian Health Promotion Foundation: Victoria, Australia.
[5] Australian Bureau of Statistics. 2006. Personal safety survey (reissue). Cat. No. 4906.0.


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