New toolkit to help councils battle violence against women

A new online resource to help local governments prevent violence against women in their workplaces and communities has been published.

It includes information setting out the role council can play in prevention, actions they can take, how to engage communities, and how to evaluate the effectiveness of the measures.

The Prevention Toolkit for local government was an initiative under the Third Action Plan of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-22.

Led by the Department of Social Services, the Toolkit was finalised by Our Watch and published earlier this month.

Five councils piloted the toolkit in 2018-19 – City of Charles Sturt (SA), Latrobe City Council (Vic), Mackay Regional Council (Qld), the City of Mandurah (WA), and the City of Parramatta (NSW) – and the resource was later evaluated by Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS).

A case study of how the City of Charles Sturt has raised awareness of respectful relationships is included in the toolkit.

The link between an increase in domestic violence at times of natural disaster is well known, and the combination of the recent devastating bushfires followed by the coronavirus pandemic has led to a spike in the incidence of domestic violence.

Two weeks ago, Our Watch warned governments to remain vigilant to increased violence against women during a “second wave” of Covid-19 lockdowns in Victoria.