Prevention of violence against women (PVAW) is about stopping violence before it starts by addressing the underlying causes or ‘drivers’. Gender equality in public and private life is at the core of preventing violence against women.

Prevention of Violence Against Women

What is Prevention of Violence Against Women?

Primary prevention addresses the underlying drivers of violence so that it doesn’t happen in the first place. It is different from tertiary prevention – or response work – which supports survivors and holds perpetrators to account after violence has occurred. PVAW seeks to change the social norms, practices and structures that allow violence to take place. PVAW programs work with individuals, communities and social structures to promote safe, respectful and equitable societies.

Why is PVAW important?

Violence against women is a violation of human rights and impacts the health and wellbeing of women across the country.   

In Australia, on average, one woman a week is killed by a partner or former partner.ii For Australian women aged 18-44 years, intimate partner violence is the leading contributor to death, disability and illness, outstripping other known risk factors like alcohol harm, illicit substance use, high blood pressure, obesity and smoking.iii  

International and Australian evidence shows that gender inequality provides the necessary context for violence against women. Countries with higher levels of equality between women and men tend to experience lower levels of violence against women.i 

WHV’s work in PVAW

Women’s Health Victoria is committed to a world in which all women can live free from violence and enjoy equitable access to opportunities and resources.   

The prevention work we do at Women’s Health Victoria is based on the latest evidence and is aligned with Australia’s national framework for primary prevention of violence against women, Change the Story. This framework aims to address the gendered drivers of violence against women and promote and normalise gender equality in public and private life.   

PVAW remains one of our key priority areas. We have been leading this PVAW work in Victoria for more than a decade. We have played a key role in developing evidence-based prevention programs and training in Victoria, with initiatives such as:  

  • Our award-winning workplace bystander training program, Take a Stand. This program provides training, resources and tools to support workplaces to prevent and address violence against women.   

  • Training and workshops for new and experienced workers, including PVAW Masterclasses for experienced practitioners, Active Bystander Training to Prevent Violence Against Women, Building Workplace Responses to Family Violence, and Gender Equity in Action: Applying a Gender Lens.  

  • Advocacy and policy development, which includes representation on key government committees to inform the co-design and implementation of the recommendations from Victoria’s Royal Commission into Family Violence.   

  • Research and publications such as our Issues Papers and Spotlights on PVAW-related topics.  

  • We partner with government, non-government agencies and other women’s health services to deliver projects that promote gender equity and build the capacity of the workforce to deliver high-quality PVAW activities. 




We deliver training and workshops to build knowledge and skills in prevention of violence against women, which can also be customised for workplaces, including our award winning Take a Stand program.

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Publications and Resources

Publications and Resources

We produce publications and resources on prevention of violence against women issues and other related topics.

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Action to Prevent Violence Against Women

Action to Prevent Violence Against Women

This online resource supports key organisations and practitioners to understand and get involved in regional prevention activities. Learn more about what primary prevention is and find online resources to help your work.

Visit Action to PVAW

(i) United Nations Development Fund for Women,
(ii) Cussen, T. & Bryant, W. (2015). Domestic/family homicide in Australia. Research in Practice No. 38, Australian Institute of Criminology, Australian Government.
(iii) Webster K (2016) A preventable burden: measuring and addressing the prevalence and health impacts of intimate partner violence in Australian women. ANROWS, Sydney. (Compass, 07/2016). Available from: