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Healthy Communities - Prevention of Violence Against Women

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What is violence against women?

Violence against women is a range of behaviours that a man does that causes a woman to feel fear.

Violence against women is a common and serious problem. It is not always easy to identify. There are many forms of violence against women including physical and sexual abuse; emotional or psychological abuse; financial abuse; stalking or any behaviour that is threatening, forceful or in any way controls or dominates that person.

Where can you find help?

If you, or someone you know, is experiencing violence and would like further support, contact one of the below organisations:

Who does it affect?

Violence against women occurs across the whole community, however certain groups of women experience much higher rates of male violence than others. These groups include women with disabilities, Aboriginal women, women from rural/remote areas, and immigrant and refugee women.

PVAW stats

Violence against women is the biggest cause of ill health and early death in woman ages 15-44. Violence causes more harm to the health of Victorian women aged 15-44 years than any other risk factor, such as high blood pressure, being overweight and smoking.

Gender equality prevents violence against women

Women and men are not yet equal in our communities, which means they don’t have the same levels of power, rights and access to things they need to live well and be healthy. We see examples of this in everyday life, like at home, where women are more likely to do jobs around the house even if they do the same amount of paid work as their male partner.

Most of the time, when violence against women happens it is because there is unequal power between a man and woman. This is shown in data which says that most violence against women is committed by men.

Gender inequality in relationships comes from gender inequality in the community. This is why, to prevent violence against women, we need to create a whole community where women and men are equal.

What are we doing?

Our work incorporates promoting gender equity measures to reduce the likelihood that violence against women will take place. We do this in several ways:


We are working across all levels of Barwon Health to ensure that violence against women is recognised and supportive actions are in place.This whole-of-hospital approach comes from the Strengthening Health Service Response to Family Violence Project.This project works across all levels of Barwon Health to ensure violence against women is understood and responded to by our staff. Our unit aims to ensure prevention is included in the implementation of the project so that the underlying drivers of violence are addressed.


We are working with a range of organisations (schools, workplaces and health centres) to make it easier for people to step up when they see violence and to treat women equally and fairly.

As part of our work in prevention of violence against women, we are working with other health services to make changes across our whole region. Taking some of the same actions helps the change to happen everywhere. We have worked with other health services to create a toolkit of key messages to help everyone share information about gender equality and violence against women, called A health literate message toolkit. You can access the toolkit via the tile below. 



We support the Barwon Month of Action, which has a long and proud history of providing opportunities to speak out against Violence Against Women in the Geelong region. It has established itself as a regular part of the Barwon region’s calendar and activities, with an emphasis on ending men's violence against women. To find out more visit 

Respect Cup 

The Secondary Respect Cup

The Respect Cup is an annual event that works with regional secondary schools (public, private and Catholic) to support students to take the lead in promoting healthy relationships, gender equity and respect. 

Year Nine students participate in workshops exploring issues of consent, gender equity, the role of the bystander and the impact of attitudes and behaviours on enabling or preventing violence against women. These activities are followed by a mixed round robin netball competition.

2018 results show that students become more aware of the issues, more confident in their role, and more capable to recognise and initiate activities that prevent relationship abuse. For example, 75% of students said they learnt a lot about gender based violence and 66% of students reported that they learnt a lot about recognising signs of unhealthy relationships. 

The Respect Cup is a collaborative effort across a broad range of agencies including Barwon Health, Barwon Community Legal Service, Department of Education, Barwon Child Youth Family, Geelong Cats and Womens Health and Wellbeing Barwon South West.

The Primary Respect Cup

The Primary Respect Netball Cup is an annual event that works with regional primary schools (public, private and Catholic) to improve children's ability to appropriately recognise and respond to gender stereotypes in language and school settings through a series of morning workshops.

The Respect Cup is a collaborative effort across a broad range of agencies including Barwon Community Legal Services, Barwon Child Youth Family, Headspace, Netball Victoria, City of Greater Geelong Youth Development Team and Department of Education, Respect Relationships team. 

If you would like to support your school to work with your community to promote healthy relationships, identify negative relationships, and promote bystander intervention download the Respect Cup planning guide below. The guide is a practical tool that supports schools engaging with the mandatory requirement to deliver healthy and respectful relationships education through the Respectful Relationships Education curriculum. 

Respect Cup related link 1

We can end violence against women if we all work together

Preventing violence against women means stopping it from happening in the first place. Violence against women happens when we live in a culture where people don’t let women have control or make their own choices, make sexist jokes, think women should only be allowed to do certain jobs, think violence is ok, disrespect others, or where women are not as valued as men.

By changing these things we can create a community where women and men are equal, relationships are based on respect, and violence against women is never ok. We can do this by running programs or campaigns, or changing things like rules and guidelines. We need to make sure the change happens everywhere, and we can do this by changing workplaces, schools, sporting clubs, and other places where people come together.

It is up to all of us to make a change. By working together, we can create a healthy and safe culture for all.


Last Modified: Tuesday, 05 October 2021