FDVAN – Summary of Change the Story presentation by Dr Lara Fergus

Our Watch is a national organisation established in 2013 by Commonwealth and Victorian Governments as the national foundation to prevent violence against women and children; every state and territory (except NSW) are now members. Focus uniquely on primary prevention; and is a ‘backbone organisation’ aiming to provide frameworks, support and guidance to harness collective effort.

Acknowledged previous work done in developing the National Plan. Working towards 4th Action Plan under the National Plan. Three-quarters of the way through 3rd National Plan and nowhere near meeting key target of ‘a significant and sustained reduction in violence against women and their children, from 2010 to 2022’. Well supported, comprehensive and sustained approach to primary prevention is the only way to reach reductions in population level figures on F&DV; but a good response to existing violence is the keystone of primary prevention.

‘Change the Story’ is Australia’s shared national framework for the primary prevention of violence against women and their children. All jurisdictions have committed to implementing it (through the Third Action Plan of the National Plan). It explains how to understand violence in its social context, and take an intersectional approach (looking at how colonisation; racism; ableism; heterosexism; ageism; classism; etc intersect with sexism to drive violence against different women). It researched and identified the ‘drivers and reinforcing factors’ of violence, which explain the current ‘story’ of high levels of violence against women. To ‘change the story’, the framework gives a series of essential and supporting actions we all need to take to address these drivers. A ‘Phased Approach,’ starting with building a prevention infrastructure (such as an expert workforce, coordination and quality mechanisms, and political and sector leadership), will support a coherent and coordinated change process.

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