Support is being provided to local councils and regional and state-wide Women’s Health Services to continue efforts to create cultures of equality and respect in communities across Victoria.
During 2018-2020, 35 councils received funding to help develop a whole-of-council, best-practice approach to preventing family and gendered violence in local government settings. Funding is being extended to support up to 15 more councils through the Free from Violence Local Government Program 2022-2025. Applications for the grants program are open now and close on 28 February 2022.
“Councils play a crucial role in their communities. That’s why we’re supporting councils to lead this behaviour change with tailored and evidence-based resources”, Minister for Local Government Shaun Leane.
The funding will be used to support primary prevention approaches, such as promoting respectful relationships in community sports, early childhood services and parenting groups. It will also assist with delivering training and workshops to increase awareness and understanding across councils of the drivers of family and gendered violence and how to stop violence before it starts. The program is a partnership between the Victorian Government, the Municipal Association of Victoria and councils, with councils making a co-contribution to the program.
The program will support the implementation of The Local Government Guide for Preventing Family Violence and All Forms of Violence Against Women (the Guide). The Guide will be available to all councils in mid-2022.
The Local Government Program compliments the Free from Violence Second Action Plan (2022-2025) which marks the halfway point in the Government’s effort to strengthen Victoria’s primary prevention system. Recognising the diversity of experiences of those who are impacted by violence, the action plan has a strong intersectionality focus and addresses the experiences of women with disability, LGBTIQ+ people and elder abuse. It also identifies the importance of engaging with men and boys in prevention efforts.
The action plan highlights the need to work with Aboriginal communities to find solutions to end gendered violence that are governed by principles of self-determination, including programs led by community for community.
“Everyone has a role to play in preventing violence – this work needs a strong and coordinated response at all levels of society, from governments and businesses to schools, sporting clubs and communities”, Minister for Prevention of Family Violence Gabrielle Williams.
To support the plan, funding will be provided to Rainbow Health Victoria for the continuation of the LGBTIQ+ Family Violence Prevention Project. The Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health (MCWH) will also receive funding to continue supporting primary prevention within multicultural communities.
Domestic Violence Victoria and the Domestic Violence Resource Centre will also receive funding to upskill prevention workers, including through a joint project with MCWH, and nine regional and three state-wide Women’s Health Services will receive a boost to deliver collective primary prevention work.