VicHealth has released a world-first model for preventing violence against women, which aims to build communities and cultures that promote gender equality.
Findings from VicHealth’s innovative primary prevention program, Generating Equality and Respect (GEAR), released today (17 May), provide a number of findings and transferable tools and resources for local governments, workplaces and organisations across Australia and internationally to utilise.
The three-and-a-half year program, conducted in partnership with Monash City Council and Link Health and Community, saw the establishment of a ‘demonstration site’, into which a range of tried and tested primary prevention programs were applied to build gender equality and a culture of safety and respect.
Within Monash City Council, a gender equality strategy was developed and gender equality measures were incorporated into a range of existing organisational plans, facilities and services. Monash now funds a permanent, dedicated staff position for gender equality.As a result of GEAR:
- over 1100 employees took part in gender equality training
- more than 15,000 community members saw the program’s educational information materials
- 30 local schools and youth agencies were involved in respectful relationships activities for young people
- over 50 male employees from leading organisations within the municipality became ‘no to violence’ ambassadors
- 58 first-time parents were supported to maintain equal and respectful relationships in the transition to parenthood.
Link Health and Community established an organisational pledge for the prevention of violence against women, which received outstanding support from Link Health’s 140 staff, including executives, managers, health care professionals, client services and administrative staff.
Evaluation following the launch of the pledge identified 98 per cent of respondents supported the organisation’s clear and public commitment to gender equality.
Link Health and Community also established a gender equality checklist designed to assist the organisation in assessing policies, programs and services to ensure that it was achieving its equality commitments and to guide staff training. The checklist has now been embedded in the organisation’s policy and procedure review process.
VicHealth CEO Jerril Rechter described GEAR as a fresh approach to embedding gender equality and respectful relationships into a community.
“VicHealth is proud to have played a leading role in the prevention of violence against women in Victoria for well over 10 years. While there are many factors which contribute to violence against women, research shows two of the most significant drivers are inequalities between men and women and attitudes and cultures that accept violence as the norm,” Ms Rechter said.
“GEAR has demonstrated genuine innovation in prevention as the first-ever place-based approach to prevention that went beyond a single setting, such as a workplace or a school and applied multiple tried and tested programs into one local area.”
“The recent Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence clearly identified community-led prevention activities as crucial to achieving the widespread culture change needed to address family violence and the GEAR model is an excellent example of ground-breaking primary prevention work that can be applied to many different settings.”
For a copy of the research summary and resources, visit www.vichealth.vic.gov.au/gear