Women’s Health Goulburn North East works in the primary prevention of violence, that is, we aim to prevent violence before it occurs, by influencing or eliminating the underlying drivers of violence against women, which are gender inequality and rigid gender roles.

An Australia where women and their children live free from violence can only be achieved by addressing the gendered drivers of violence, which are deeply entrenched and embedded in our culture, society, community and daily lives.

Through a shared, consistent and mutually reinforcing approach we can all contribute to creating a safer Australia built upon respect and equality. We do this by working with organisations and communities, rather than with individual women.

More Information

For more information regarding services that support victims/survivors of family and intimate partner violence, please refer to Safe steps Family Violence Response Centr or call the 24/7 Family Violence Response line on 1800 015 188.


Increase knowledge, understanding and action to prevent the determinants of violence against women.

What We Do

  • Work with you to develop actions and strategies for your organisation or community.
    The prevention of violence against women is a complex social issue, therefore solutions and actions to prevent violence against women need to be context specific, and tailored to each community. WHGNE are able to work with you and your key partners, ensuring strategies meet the needs or your community, and are driven and owned by the community.

  • Provide expert coaching.
    WHGNE can also support a whole of community approach to the prevention of violence against women. WHGNE have worked with a broad range of sectors and developed a suite of resources, providing us with a bank of knowledge and tools regarding how to best work with communities and organisations to build gender equity. 

  • Deliver customised training to suit your needs.

  • Lead and facilitate a regional Community of Practice.
    The Regional community of Practice is for lead organisation to build local knowledge and skills to understand and take action to promote gender equity in a range of community settings.

  • Lead the regional strategy to prevent violence against women.
    'Respect and Equality for All' regional strategy is a starting point to build a social movement to see social transformation in our region of Goulburn and North East Victoria. Read more

Gender & Violence Against Women: What’s the Link?

Gender & Violence Against Women: What’s the Link?

A graph demonstrating the continuum of gender stereotypes to violence against women.

Violence Against Women Pyramid

Violence Against Women Pyramid

The pyramid demonstrates how gender stereotypes underlie and drive violence against women.


Dig Deeper

  • Guiding Principles

    1. WHGNE works from a social model of health using a determinants approach1 that considers the following layers of influence:

    • Social gradient/Hierarchy
    • Stress
    • Early Life
    • Social Exclusion
    • Work
    • Unemployment
    • Social Support
    • Addiction
    • Food
    • Transport

    There is consensus amongst international research that gender inequality and the way in which gender relations are structured, is the key to understanding violence against women. International evidence demonstrates gender inequality sets the necessary social context in which violence against women occurs (Our Watch, 2015). 

    Change the Story; A Shared Framework for the Primary prevention of Violence against Women and Children in Australia identifies the four following factors, associated with gender inequality to be the most consistent predictors of violence against women:

    • Condoning of violence against women.
    • Men’s control of decision making and limits to women’s independence.
    • Rigid gender roles and identities.
    • Male peer relations that emphasise aggression and disrespect towards women
      (Our Watch, 2015).

    2. WHGNE’s main focus is primary prevention but we understand that early intervention and response are critical to create positive change.

    3. Violence is a gendered issue.

    4. All forms of violence are unacceptable.

    5. Living in safety is a human right.

    6. Challenge the existing culture of violence.

    7. Equity for vulnerable groups is a priority.

    8. Partnerships and collaboration are central to the way we work.

    1 Wilkinson R & Marmot M (eds) 2003, Social determinants of health: The solid facts (2nd edition), World Health Organisation
  • Definitions & Key Terms

    Violence Against Women

    Violence against women refers to all forms of violence that are perpetrated against women, including intimate partner violence, sexual violence and workplace sexual harassment.2

    Violence against women can be described in many different ways, and laws in each state and territory have their own definitions. The United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women (1993) identified the following definition:

    "The term violence against women means any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life".

    Domestic Violence

    Domestic violence refers to acts of violence that occur between people who have, or have had, an intimate relationship. While there is no single definition, the central element of domestic violence is an ongoing pattern of behaviour aimed at controlling a partner through fear, for example by using behaviour which is violent and threatening.

    In most cases, the violent behaviour is part of a range of tactics to exercise power and control over women and their children, and can be both criminal and non-criminal.

    Domestic violence includes physical, sexual, emotional and psychological abuse:

    • Physical violence can include slaps, shoves, hits, punches, pushes, being thrown down stairs or across the room, kicking, twisting of arms, choking, and being burnt or stabbed.
    • Sexual assault or sexual violence can include rape, sexual assault with implements, being forced to watch or engage in pornography, enforced prostitution, and being made to have sex with friends of the perpetrator.
    • Psychological and emotional abuse can include a range of controlling behaviours such as control of finances, isolation from family and friends, continual humiliation, threats against children or being threatened with injury or death.

    Family Violence

    Family violence is a broader term that refers to violence between family members, as well as violence between intimate partners. It involves the same sorts of behaviours as described for domestic violence.

    As with domestic violence, the National Plan recognises that although only some aspects of family violence are criminal offences, any behaviour that causes the victim to live in fear is unacceptable.

    The term, 'family violence' is the most widely used term to identify the experiences of Indigenous people, because it includes the broad range of marital and kinship relationships in which violence may occur4.

    2 VicHealth 2012, Preventing violence against women in the workplace (An evidence review: summary report), Victorian Health Promotion Foundation. 3 Council of Australian Governments 2011, National plan to reduce violence against women and their children 2010-2022, Australian Government Department of Social Services 4 VicHealth 2008, Violence against women in Australia, Victorian Health Promotion Foundation
  • Current Statistics

    The evidence shows that the overwhelming majority of abuse and violence is perpetrated by men against women. The largest single risk factor for becoming a victim of sexual assault and/or domestic violence is, simply, being female.

    Key Statistics:

    • In Victoria, intimate partner violence is the leading contributor to the total disease burden of women aged 15-44 years, causing 9% of disease burden4 .
    • It is responsible for more ill-health and premature death in Victorian women under the age of 45 than any other single risk factor, including diseases related to obesity, alcohol, drug use, and smoking5.
    • Over one in three Australian women have experienced physical violence since the age of fifteen5 .
    • Nearly one in five Australian women have experienced sexual violence since the age of fifteen5 .
    • Over a third of women (34%) who have ever had a boyfriend or husband report experiencing at least one form of violence during their lifetime from an intimate male partner. About half have experienced physical violence and a third have experienced sexual violence5.
    4 VicHealth 2008, Violence against women in Australia, Victorian Health Promotion Foundation 5 VicHealth 2010, The health costs of violence, Victorian Health Promotion Foundation
  • Mental Health
    • Women who have been exposed to violence have a greater risk of developing a range of health problems, including stress, anxiety, depression, pain syndromes, phobias and somatic and medical symptoms5.
    • The greatest proportion of the disease burden from violence against women is associated with anxiety and depression (62%)6.
    • Up to 80% of women in the mental health system have experienced sexual violence at some time in their past7.
    • The use of tranquillisers, sleeping pills and anti-depressants is more common in women exposed to this type of violence than those who are not7.
    • Up to 70% of women with drug and alcohol issues have experienced sexual violence at some time in their life8.
    5 VicHealth 2010, The health costs of violence, Victorian Health Promotion Foundation 6 VicHealth 2010, The health costs of violence, Victorian Health Promotion Foundation 7 Queensland Sexual Assault Services 2010, The right to choose: Enhancing best practice in responding to sexual assault in Queensland, Queensland Sexual Assault Services 8 VicHealth 2008, Violence against women in Australia, Victorian Health Promotion Foundation
  • Population Groups Most at Risk
    • Young women are 3-4 times more likely to suffer from violence9.
    • Indigenous women are 35 times more likely to suffer family violence and sustain serious injury requiring hospitalisation, and 10 times more likely to die due to family violence, than non-Indigenous women8.
    • Women with disabilities are 40% more likely to be the victims of intimate partner violence than women without disabilities9.
    • The risk is higher in pregnant women and in the period following the birth of a child; 42 per cent of all women who reported they had experienced violence at some time in their lives were pregnant at the time of the violence.8
    8 VicHealth 2008, Violence against women in Australia, Victorian Health Promotion Foundation 9 Women’s Health Association of Victoria 2011, Proposal for the Inclusion of Violence Against Women as a State wide Health Promotion Priority, Women’s Health Association of Victoria
  • Australian Context & Guiding Documents

    Change the Story; a Shared framework for the Primary prevention of violence against women and their Children in Australia
    Launched in November 2015

    • Clear articulation of the gendered drivers of intimate partner violence.
    • Clear direction of primary prevention essential actions to address the gendered drivers.

    Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence Report and Recommendations
    Released in March 2016

    • Recommendation #187 - The Victorian Government ensures the commission’s recommended state-wide family violence action plan includes a primary prevention strategy that should be guided by the Victorian Governments Gender Equality Strategy.

    Ending Family Violence: Victoria’s Plan for Change
    Launched November 2016

    • State-wide Family Violence Action Plan. Is the plan for the entire reform agenda and has 10 year horizon.

    Safe and Strong: Victorian Gender Equality Strategy
    Launched December 2016

    • The Strategy considers six key settings for state-wide action; Education, Work, Health, Leadership, Sport and Media.

    Free From Violence: Primary Prevention Strategy
    Launched in May 2017

    • Prevention activities will be overseen and coordinated by a Prevention Agency. A series of rolling action plans will be delivered over the next decade to support implementation.