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Violence Prevention Australia's response to the

Draft National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children 2022-2032

Dr Samara McNeil, Chair

Dr Anne Stephens, Co-Founder, Secretary

On behalf of the VPA Board of Directors

1. Violence Prevention Australia Inc., (VPA’s) mission is to support efforts across Australia to prevent community and family violence.

2. VPA researches, develops and disseminates prevention education resources from around the world, for use by workers in the health and personal service sectors.

3. The combined working populations of the health care and personal services sectors employ over 2 million Australians in occupations ranging from medical professionals, nurses, carers, personal and wellbeing workers.

4. The health care sector includes GPs and doctors, nursing specialisations including nurse practitioners, across a wide number of community-based clinical and in-home care settings.

5. Personal service worker occupations include hairdressers, nail technicians, natural therapists, and people who focus on another person’s health and wellbeing, outside of the formal health care system.

6. Many of these people are in the right location to share prevention messaging. National leadership and investment can deliver comprehensive action, at scale.

7. VPA calls on the Second National Plan to widen the scope of industry bodies and sectors, to include the personal services sector and acknowledge the role that dedicated prevention education can play in saturating our population with informed and equipped citizens for violence prevention.

8. Their oversight in the National Plan Draft is a significant omission, driven by the ideological position that the health sector performs within the ‘response’ end of the violence spectrum.

9. VPA represents medical professionals who are frustrated by the ongoing and deliberate exclusion of GPs and practice professionals and quasi-professional workers, in prevention work, despite their positioning for effective universal program delivery.

10. VPA calls on the National Plan to recognise the role of medical education for medical and nursing professionals.

11. The National Plan needs to create explicit dedicated areas of action for health leadership and engagement of health and personal service sector peak bodies, as well as workforce development. Violence prevention training should be mandated to include dedicated prevention resources for all health workers.

12. VPA joins advocacy and state government bodies alike in calling for greater investment in primary and secondary prevention activity, including greater levels of investment in research and resource development for effective primary prevention at the national scale, as well as for priority populations and pockets of the Australian community, that are consistently overlooked.

Background to VPA

VPA,, is a not-for-profit social enterprise start-up, established to support efforts across Australia prevent community and family violence.

VPA was established in 2018 by a small group of concerned people working in the health, community and education sectors. Not comfortable with the rising toll of violence in our communities, particularly the underserved regional, rural and remote communities of Australia, VPA was established to develop resources such as our ‘C-10’, promote promising practice and best available evidence-based programmes, to make having conversations with everyone easier.

We are aligned with the National Plan for the Prevention of Violence Against Women, Our Watch’s Change the Story and for First Nation Australian’s, Change the Picture, providing the overarching goals and framework for violence prevention in Australia.

VPA works with people in health and healing roles in the formal health and personal services sectors. Our aim is broad and not limited to domestic violence services. We include general practice and medical associations, women’s health, migrant and refugee services, community wellbeing practitioners (i.e. hairdressers, natural therapists), people in carer roles, and those working in professional roles in local or state government, educational institutions and so on.

People come to violence prevention from multiple disciplines and apply different approaches. VPA is pushing the boundaries of who participates, the resources we use, and even how we know and understand our interventions. Our focus on preventionis not limited to primary or tertiary work only, but is holistic and seeks to influence behaviour to prevent violence before it occurs at the individual level. We call this anticipatory prevention.

Most violence in Australia is perpetrated by men against women, and as family and community violence is complex, whole of family or whole of community approaches, complimented by more targeted opportunistic efforts, are necessary to break cycles of violence.

VPA offers training and resource support at the big and little ends of town, from corporate settings to those returning to community from prison, as violence knows no social boundary, profession, age, sex, race or creed.

VPA’s goal is to become an effective and practical go-to source of reliable information that is accessible and effective in efforts to break cycles of violence and prevent violence before it occurs.

We welcome partnerships and collaborative opportunities with like-minded organisations.

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