Approaches to addressing violence against women

Work to address violence against women fits into three broad approaches or categories that exist along a continuum: primary prevention, secondary prevention (early intervention) and tertiary prevention (response).

Each of these approaches are important and reinforce each other. Work must occur across this continuum if we are going to create a world where women and their children live free from violence.

Using plain language and specific examples, this resource is designed to assist people to understand the three approaches to addressing violence against women and how they can situate their work across this continuum.

How to use the poster

Use this poster to start conversations with colleagues and community groups about the different approaches to addressing violence against women and why you take a particular approach to your work.

Download and print the poster

Download an accessible version

Where does your work fit?

PRIMARY PREVENTION
or Prevention

Working across communities, organisations and society as a whole in settings where people live, learn, work, socialise and play to stop violence from happening in the first place by challenging or addressing the things that drive violence against women (the gendered drivers).

If work in the family violence sector does not address one or more of the gendered drivers then it’s more likely to be early intervention or response work.

What can this work look like?

  • Implementing whole school initiatives that promote gender equality and respectful relationships
  • Working with the media to ensure that reporting on violence against women highlights the perpetrator’s responsibility rather than the victim’s behaviour or clothing
  • Developing awareness-raising campaigns that make it clear that sexism and disrespecting women is never acceptable
  • Delivering training about the gendered drivers of violence against women
  • Running programs for first-time parents that unpack gendered roles and promote gender equitable parenting and household practices
  • Supporting a local sports club to develop policies and procedures that ensure women and children have equal access to resources and appropriate facilities to support their participation in sport
  • Implementing workplace initiatives that take a whole of organisation approach to addressing the gendered drivers of violence against women, including addressing unequal workplace policies, processes, leadership and workplace culture. This might include strategies such as establishing gender quotas for leadership positions, ensuring flexible working arrangements for all staff and delivering bystander training

SECONDARY PREVENTION
or Early intervention

Working with specific groups or individuals because they may be at risk of perpetrating or experiencing violence.

This approach also refers to work undertaken in particular environments because there are strong signs that violence may occur in these settings.

What can this work look like?

  • Delivering a program for young boys at school who are exhibiting sexist behaviour and disrespectful attitudes towards women and girls
  • Working with boys who have shown early signs of or begun using violence to stop them from continuing to use violence as adults (e.g. the Sexually Abusive Behaviours Treatment Services)
  • Delivering education sessions at a sports club about sexual assault and the legal consequences after a number of women have reported experiencing sexual harassment
  • Group work focussed on healthy emotional expression for young boys who have experienced family violence
  • Developing relationship quizzes that support people to identify if they are in a healthy or abusive relationship (e.g. the Is it love or control? quiz)
  • Providing information and training about family violence, legal rights and support services to people who are at higher risk of experiencing violence or professionals working with people who are at a high risk of experiencing violence

TERTIARY PREVENTION
or Response

Supporting victim survivors who are living with or have experienced family violence. This work can take a variety of forms, including crisis, therapeutic and recovery support.

This approach also refers to work undertaken with perpetrators to prevent further violence by changing attitudes and behaviour through a range of strategies, including individual counselling, case management and group work.

What can this work look like?

  • Responding to and referring people following a disclosure
  • Talking to women about their experience of violence and assessing their level of risk
  • Providing case management support including; arranging crisis accommodation, supporting women to secure housing, advocating for women navigating the legal system, providing referrals and support
  • Police protection/response (e.g. responding to incidents of family violence)
  • Establishing and running a support group, therapeutic program or counselling for women and children who have experienced family violence or sexual assault
  • Developing a workplace policy that provides additional leave for staff who are experiencing family violence
  • Delivering a men’s behaviour change program for perpetrators and supporting women whose partners are attending the program
  • Providing family violence legal advice to victim survivors to help them to manage family court proceedings and/or parenting orders

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