Our Watch has launched an updated version of a framework that guides a coordinated national approach to preventing violence against women.
The second edition of ‘Change the story’ is to be launched at a special event on Wednesday, offering an extra emphasis on how to shift the broader social, political, and economic factors that drive violence.
Speaking to The Mandarin ahead of the launch, Our Watch CEO Patty Kinnersly said the NGO was in the process of establishing a new arm that could engage more effectively with government and organisational stakeholders about how to effectively implement the framework, as well as other evidence-based primary prevention measures.
“We need all levels of government across the country to continue to improve policies to advance gender equality and commitment from all Australian employers that they will take the actions necessary to ensure women feel safe, valued, and respected when they go to work,” Kinnersly said.
“It’s also vital that all schools and universities are supporting children and young people with the knowledge they need to develop respectful and equal relationships.”
The new arm of Our Watch will help educate and inform stakeholders about its resources and other available tools to change the way that gendered violence is framed, and address fundamental, systemic gender inequality in society. It is planned to be fully functioning within the next 12 months, with hopes of expanded support pending extra funding.
“The evidence shows that we can stop violence against women before it starts, provided all parts of society play a role,” Kinnersly said.
“We need to address the gendered drivers of violence at every level and continue to promote and embed gender equality everywhere we live, work, and play.”
Preventing men's #vaw & #sexualharassment at #work starts with a commitment to end it. Workplaces must be committed to preventing sexual harassment & men's vaw & have structures, strategies & policies that clearly promote #genderequality. Find out more. https://t.co/c5IUMyDHAX
— Our Watch (@OurWatchAus) November 22, 2021
One of the key changes to the second edition of the Our Watch framework is a more detailed consideration of intersectionality, which Kinnersly describes as the added barriers some women face compared to others. Among the intersectional topics addressed in the framework include issues such as racism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, and colonialism.
The updated resource also refocuses the issue of gender equality as it relates to violence against women to encourage organisations and agencies to think beyond family and domestic violence to other common places where women experience discrimination, such as the office or in public.
“An effective national approach to the prevention of violence against women must address both the inequalities between men and women in public and private life and other social injustices that can combine to drive increased levels of violence against women,” Kinnersly said.
“While it is important that individuals model respectful relationships and have the tools and resources to be able to do something in the face of disrespect towards women, we also need measurable systemic and structural change,” she added.
The disproportionate impact on women has been felt at every stage of the #COVID19 pandemic.
— Our Watch (@OurWatchAus) November 23, 2021
After two years of undertaking a comprehensive international and national literature review, and with inputs from technical experts from interest groups including ATSI and LGBTQI representatives, Our Watch hopes that the new framework will lead to critical policy changes. Kinnersly points to levers that affect things like the gender pay gap and women’s participation in the workforce as clear ways structural change can be achieved.
“We need ongoing commitments from all governments, workplaces, education facilities, sporting organisations, and the media to utilise the updated Change the story framework so they can address the drivers of violence against women and put gender equality at the heart of their work.”
If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, family or domestic violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000.