Prevent Family Violence and Promote Gender Equity

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Challenging gender stereotypes and roles

We all deserve to be respected for who we are. But growing up, many of us are told we should have certain skills, likes and dislikes, and ways we should look based on our gender – rather than who we are as a person.

Assumptions about gender limit us. They create expectations about

  • who carries the parenting load and does most of the housework
  • whose role it is to earn money, and the kinds of jobs we should have
  • who gets to make decisions – at home, work, and in our communities
  • who is allowed to be emotional, and who is allowed to be assertive
  • what we can wear and how we should look.

These ideas keep us from being ourselves and filter through our relationships, workplaces, and communities. They limit opportunities and choices and can lead to discrimination and violence.

It’s important to challenge assumptions about gender to help create a society where everyone is free to be themselves.

What could a world look like where we are all free and supported to be ourselves?

It all starts with a conversation.

These conversations matter because they challenge the underlying conditions that drive violence against women.

Gender Equality & Diversity Action Plan

Council's first Gender Equality & Diversity Action Plan (GEDAP) establishes four gender equality and diversity goals to help our employees and our community to thrive: 

  • Improving our ability to attract and retain a workforce that reflects the diversity of our community through gender equal recruitment processes and people practices
  • Increasing innovation and creativity from a diverse workforce where unique experiences and strengths  are welcomed and encouraged
  • Enhancing employee wellbeing and performance through a  safe and inclusive culture that supports equity, diversity and respectful behaviour
  • Eliminating gender-based pay gaps with equal remuneration for work of equal value

Our Gender Equality Action Plan is internally focussed, yet builds on the commitment made to our community through Council’s Access & Inclusion Plan 2014-24 to build healthy, well-connected communities where everyone can participate. It recognises our existing programs, initiatives, achievements and documents and identifies new initiatives that will be implemented over a four-year period to meet our gender equality and diversity objectives.

View the Gender Equality & Diversity Action Plan(DOCX, 10MB)

16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence

Again this year, Surf Coast Shire Council is proud to participate in Respect Victoria’s 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence campaign.

The campaign provides an opportunity to create conversations and inspire positive change on gender equality and respectful behaviour towards women and girls.

Find out more about Respect Victoria's events for 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence

Council is running two impactful projects:

1. Let’s Change the Story

Let's Change the Story involves distributing packages of books to all primary schools in the shire.

Researched in conjunction with Monash University and Respect Victoria, the packages contain 22 books themed around gender equality.

This initiative aims to engage and educate primary school-aged children about the importance of gender equality through storytelling and beautiful illustrations.

2. The Clothesline Project

The Clothesline Project is an installation displayed at Wurdi Baierr Stadium during the 16 Days of Activism.

This initiative encourages community to participate in the campaign by creating messages and images on t-shirts to support women and children who have experienced domestic violence.

Contributors to this project include Surf Coast Youth and our local Community Houses.

This 16 Days of Activism and beyond, let's change the story and create a future where we are all safe, equal and respected.

Facts on family and gender-based violence

We all deserve a world where we can live and love freely and fully, where families and relationships are safe and respectful, and people have everything they need to thrive. But violence, specifically men’s violence against women, is a significant social issue that continues to do profound harm.

  • Every 9 days a woman is killed by her current or former partner.

  • Most family and gender-based violence is perpetrated by cisgender men, and this impacts women, children and young people, LGBTIQ+ communities, as well as other men.

  • 95% of men and 94% of women who experienced violence since the age of 15 did so at the hands of a male perpetrator.

We need to break down harmful gender stereotypes, and challenge ideas about masculinity that emphasise aggression, dominance, and control.

Intimate partner violence

While many people experience intimate partner violence, prevalence is clearly related to gender. Women mostly experience violence perpetrated by men, and people who are known to them, while men mostly experience violence from other men, and those they don’t know.

  • Almost 1 in 4 women have experienced intimate partner violence since the age of 15.
  • Almost 1 in 14 men have experienced intimate partner violence since the age of 15.

Sexual assault

  • Almost 1 in 5 women have experienced this since the age of 15.
  • Almost 1 in 20 men have experienced this since the age of 15.

Sexual harassment

  • 1 in 2 women have experienced this since the age of 15.
  • Almost 2 in 5 women have experienced this in the last 5 years at work.

(Source: Safe and Equal’s Fast facts on family and gender-based violence 2023)

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic or family violence contact:
Barwon Orange Door on 1800 312 820
Safe Steps on 1800 015 188
If you believe someone is in immediate danger, call 000 and ask for the police.

For further information on Council’s work promoting gender equality please contact: