Preventing violence against women

Following an Australia-wide investigation and consultation, La Trobe University researchers have created a detailed roadmap to prevent sexual violence and harassment against women and girls.

The roadmap provides a framework for policy makers and organisations working to tackle the pervasive problem causing harm to a large number of Australians. It is published within a report that forms part of the Federal Government’s National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children.

La Trobe University researcher, Dr Leesa Hooker, said number of Australian women affected by sexual violence and harassment is shocking.

“In Australia, one in five women have experienced sexual violence since the age of 15; 53 per cent of women have experienced sexual harassment in their lifetime; and women account for 93 per cent of cases where the sexual violence victim–survivor was hospitalised*,” Dr Hooker said.

“Having reviewed global evidence of what works to reduce and prevent sexual violence and harm, and conducted our own extensive national consultation with experts in communities throughout Australia, we’ve identified a number of effective and promising actions that we believe will reduce the scale of this problem.”

Dr Hooker, a senior research fellow at the Judith Lumley Centre and La Trobe Rural Health School, said the resulting roadmap was intended to be an early guide for the government and community health sectors.  Its recommendations (detailed on P 26 of the report) include:

  • Workforce training for early childhood, maternal and child health sectors to support parents and caregivers
  • A consistent, inclusive and adaptable national curriculum on respectful relationships and sex education, affirmative consent and critical literacy of media, technology and pornography
  • Organisations to provide compulsory workforce and leadership primary prevention training
  • Transforming social norms through social marketing campaigns and other activities
  • Reforming regulations, laws and policies on harmful online content and technology-facilitated abuse

The report highlights that all interventions need to be intersectional, trauma-informed and co-designed.

“If we want to eliminate sexual violence and harassment against women and girls in Australia, we’re going to need sustained investment not just in prevention programs, but in evaluating those programs to measure the long-term outcomes of our efforts,” Dr Hooker said.

*P13 of the report

Media Contact: Kathryn Powley | | 0456 764 371