Over the course of 2020 - 2021 efforts to engage with men and boys and promote healthier masculinities for the prevention of violence against women have increased across the Eastern Region of Melbourne.
The Promoting Healthier Masculinities steering group continued to meet online and focused on how they could promote healthier masculinities throughout the COVID-19 pandemic in the Eastern Metropolitan Region (EMR).
A highlight of the work included the development of a guide to support professionals and practitioners in the field of violence prevention to feel confident and have the capacity to engage with men and reduce and respond to resistance regarding gender equality and violence prevention. The Engaging Men: Reducing Resistance and Building Support guide was produced in partnership with Assoc. Prof. Michael Flood from Queensland University of Technology and Brianna Myors from Eastern Domestic Violence Outreach Service.
Engaging with men and boys is fundamental to preventing violence against women. Despite a rich history of academic and public advocacy, the practice of engaging with men and boys for violence prevention has only recently gained significant momentum in Australia. Men are no longer being engaged solely as perpetrators of violence but as partners for the prevention of violence against women.
The Steering Group seeded 9 activities and events which were delivered across the EMR throughout the year with an estimated reach of over 8300. The steering group was also able to hear from a range of guest speakers representing various organisations such as VicHealth, Movember and The Men's Project as part of the Jesuit Social Services.
Eastern Health would encourage other organisations to continue to invest in efforts that aim to engage with men and boys to stimulate critical reflection of masculinities. The guide provides practical strategies for practitioners, advocates and educators to reduce and prevent resistance and backlash, particularly in engaging men. Leadership in this area can support both the health and wellbeing of men and boys as well as challenging violence supportive attitudes and behaviours.