Preventing men’s violence against women

We welcome the Andrews government’s ongoing commitment to implementing the Royal Commission into Family Violence recommendations as seen in today’s announcement about giving legislative force to Respect Victoria.

In light of the numerous incidents of violence against women and their children this week it highlights the critical need for prevention work.

Men’s violence against women, which is most often targeted at women in their families, is not a niche issue.  While these stories of family violence and violence against women might fade out of the media cycle, men’s violence continues to take at least one woman’s life in Australia each week.  We must keep this conversation going.

The community wants strong leadership that directs the message away from women and towards men. The best evidence from both international and Australian research shows the factors that consistently predict men’s violence against women is inequality between women and men and outdated beliefs in stereotypical gender roles.

Men need to speak up when the behaviour of their friends, family, colleagues and team mates demeans, degrades or disrespects women. This may seem like a small action but it is an important step towards preventing men’s violence against women. When attitudes promote and normalise gender equality and respect for women, the likelihood of violence against women will decrease.

While a small proportion of violence in Australian society is committed by women it is an uncomfortable truth that the perpetrators of violence against women, children and men are overwhelmingly men. Men who are able to accept this and understand that silence is complicity will recognise how important their role is in keeping everyone safe.

Women can no longer be responsible for the painstaking measures needed to protect themselves and their children and effect permanent change.