Promoting gender equality and respect in workplaces is an important catalyst for preventing violence against women in broader society.

  • Project dates: 2015
  • Partner organisation: Our Watch

As part of this project, RMIT developed a background paper to inform Our Watch‘s planning and program development in workplace and organisational approaches to primary prevention of violence against women.

Established in 2013, Our Watch is a national organisation whose role it is to advocate for and drive change in the culture, systems, behaviours and attitudes that lead to violence against women and their children. This report has been designed to inform Our Watch’s planning and program development in one sub-theme of this important work – namely workplace and organisational approaches to support the prevention of violence against women (PVAW).

The vast majority of existing program development and other prevention activities undertaken regarding PVAW in Australian workplaces are yet to be documented. In order to document practice in this area consultative interviews were undertaken with a number of key stakeholders. The case studies described in this report provide evidence of promising practice and other key themes from the stakeholder interviews, including the need to break down the idea of workplaces as homogenous and the diverse range of models, approaches and work in the sector which speak of the heterogeneity of and in workplaces. The case studies also confirm that well-designed programs aim to encourage local ownership and that there is a need to ‘gain traction’ if programs are to be successfully implemented. Overall several points of entry in programmatic work were identified, including responding to and preventing violence and promoting gender equity and cultures of respect.

The key recommendations of this report are clustered around four priority themes and include:

  • Building readiness by developing a PVAW and promoting gender equality and respect national community awareness-raising campaign, community forums and professional development seminars; supporting research on effective program models; and identifying a ‘take a first step’ approach.
  • Building capacity by developing common audit and monitoring tools and training materials and common social marketing, communication and awareness-raising tools to aid work in the sector; supporting development of train-the-trainer professional development to build capacity in the sector; collaborate with higher education 2 institutions to develop and deliver e-Modules on PVAW; and organise forums or colloquia for PVAW officers.
  • Building the evidence by developing a ‘National Scorecard’ and evaluation tools for workplaces and organisations connected to a set of Benchmarking Tools or Measures of Success; developing and piloting training materials and evaluating efficacy; supporting workplaces in undertaking ongoing program evaluation; and consider appointing a PVAW and PGE&R Evaluation Officer or Advisor to support partner-programs.
  • Building momentum by developing strategies to support sustainability; showcasing positive examples and outcomes from existing PVAW and PGE&R primary prevention programs; and developing a National Workplace Leaders Award Scheme.

Ending violence against women will take whole-of-community action and social change implemented through a range of public institutions, organisations and settings. Workplaces and organisations are key settings through which this action and change can occur.

Key People

Lead researchers

Dr Anastasia Powell

Dr Anastasia Powell

Senior Research Fellow

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Workplace and Organisational Approaches to the Primary Prevention of Violence Against Women

Dr Larissa Sandy

School of Global, Urban and Social Studies (RMIT)

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Research assistants

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