Five things I learned about Achieving Generational Change

Five things I learned about Achieving Generational Change

On 29 May, 200 leaders, policy makers and professionals working to prevent violence against women gathered in RMIT’s Storey Hall to examine the course of Victoria’s 20 year respectful relationships journey and where it might take us.

What began as grassroots work, carried out by passionate individuals across the state, gained momentum over time and Victoria is now 18 months into rolling out a world-first, government-led primary prevention of violence against women program across the education system.

We wanted to bring together everyone in a room to discuss how the successes and challenges of this program can inform large scale violence prevention action outside of education and into other realms.

So what did we learn?

1. Response needs to be considered and integrated into prevention work from the beginning

Prevention and response work shares a common goal – to end violence against women – and we know that a robust response system is essential to supporting the disclosures that are inevitably made when we undertake primary prevention work. This means considering response from the very beginning when designing any prevention work, planning for the increased demand, and ensuring it is properly resourced.

2. A feminist approach is critical

The evidence tells us that talking about ‘respect’ or ‘safety’ or ‘ethics’ in a general sense won’t result in a reduction in the prevalence of violence against women. The only thing that will ultimately achieve that change is prevention activities that address the four gendered drivers of violence. And that means maintaining a gendered lens.

3. Resistance and backlash are inevitable

Backlash comes with social change. We need to be continually mindful of the risk aversion that can follow the implementation of a prevention activity. DVRCV has created a series of  videos unpacking resistance practitioners encounter in their respectful relationships and prevention of violence against women work

4. Tailor the model to the scale

We know it’s important to tailor the program to the audience but it’s just as important to configure the model to the scale of delivery.

This means making sure that the infrastructure exists across systems and that frameworks, language and advocacy is consistent.

5. Work with the middle

A small portion of your audience will be supportive champions from the beginning, put them to work! A minority will resist, don’t focus too much time on them. Most people will fall somewhere in the middle and that’s where to put your energy.

Video recordings from Achieving Generational Change will be available shortly.

Acknowledgement of country

DVRCV and the PiP network acknowledge Aboriginal people as the traditional owners of the lands and waters throughout Australia.

PiP is resourced by