Family and gender-based violence prevention

Family and gender-based violence is when your partner, ex-partner, carer family member or someone you have a ‘family-like’ relationship with uses threatening, controlling or violent behaviour.

Family and gender-based violence can include a range of abusive behaviours: verbal, emotional, psychological, financial, physical, sexual and elder abuse, as well as intimidation and threats. It’s used to maintain power and control in relationships.

No matter what form it takes, violence is never acceptable.

We are actively working with the community to reduce family and gender-based violence in the following ways:

Council's commitment to preventing family and gender-based violence

Council is committed to:

  • implementing initiatives aligned with the Gender Equality Act 2020 (Council Plan 2021-2025)
  • developing a gender equity policy and action plan (Council Plan 2021-2025)
  • incorporating family and gender-based violence strategies into our emergency management responsibilities (Council Plan 2021-2025)
  • preventing family and gender-based violence (6.1 Municipal Public Health and Wellbeing Plan 2021-2025)
  • facilitating effective referral mechanisms between key stakeholders (6.2 Municipal Public Health and Wellbeing Plan 2021-2025)
  • raising the profile of the prevention of violence at events and facilities to ensure safety, access and inclusion for all (6.3 Municipal Public Health and Wellbeing Plan 2021-2025)
  • ensuring the Emergency Management team works towards best practice to prevent family and gender-based violence (6.4 Municipal Public Health and Wellbeing Plan 2021-2025).

Reestablishment of the Mount Alexander Family Violence Prevention Network

The Mount Alexander Family Violence Prevention Network (MAFVPN) is a broad collaborative partnership to provide advocacy and strategic support to deliver actions of the Loddon Mallee Action Plan for the primary prevention of violence against women.

MAFVN was unable to continue in 2021 due to changed government funding for the Central Victorian Primary Care Partnerships who led the network.

The membership consisted of organisations that provide services within the Mount Alexander Shire and/or those that are committed to reducing family violence in Mount Alexander.

Council is currently considering how best to reestablish a family violence network for our shire.

For more information on the previous MAFVN click on the animation to view the why, who and what of the network or visit Central Victoria Prevention and Population Health.

16 Days of Activism Against Gender based Violence

Each year, from 25 November (International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women) to 10 December, World Human Rights Day, the 16 Days of Activism campaign calls for action against one of the world’s most persistent violations of human rights – violence against women.

The theme is Respect Women: Call It Out.

During the 16 Days of Activism, people around the world unite to raise awareness about gender-based violence, challenge discriminatory attitudes and call for improved laws and services to end violence against women for good.

The 16 Days of Activism campaign is an initiative that Council has supported since 2018. Through involvement with Respect Victoria’s "Respect: Call it Out" campaign, community and staff events have been delivered to raise awareness of gender-based violence and the link to gender equality.

2023 events included:

  • Financial Abuse Forum
  • Candlelight Installation
  • Rotary Truck Show Parade
  • Self Defence Class for girls, women & non-binary people
  • Refuge for Women: short film & discussion
  • Dhelkaya Health, Castlemaine Library and Mt Alexander Falcons also have events on during the campaign

Previous events and activities have included:

  • Candlelight vigil at Castlemaine Town Hall (2021)
  • Gender Equality Quiz for council staff (2018 and 2019)
  • Local business orange window display competition (2018 and 2019)
  • Respect : See it Through art exhibition (2020)
  • Break the Chain – 1 Billion Rising flash mob dance - VIDEO (2019 and 2020)
  • Family Violence community vigil at Victory Park (2020)
  • Portraits of Respect campaign (2018, 2019 and 2020)

For more information about the 16 Days of Activism campaign or for ideas and resources to get involved please visit the Safe and Equal website.

Gender Equality Act 2020

Council understands that gender equality is a fundamental human right and that gender inequality is a driving factor of family violence, violence against women and gender based violence.

Workplaces can play an important role in addressing and changing behaviour by challenging existing societal norms, such as gender inequalities, violence towards women and the role of women in society. Addressing stereotypical attitudes, gendered norms and gendered structures in the workplace can have a broader flow on effect that supports gender equality in society and ultimately working towards ending family violence and violence against women.

In 2020, the Victorian Government enacted the Gender Equality Act. The Act is recognised as an important opportunity for council to deepen and extend our commitment to gender equality and to continue to build upon our foundational work.

The Act requires local councils, to take positive action towards achieving workplace gender equality by:

  • 1. promoting gender equality
  • 2. conducting gender impact assessments
  • 3. undertaking a workplace gender audit
  • 4. creating a Gender Equality Action Plan
  • 5. reporting on progress.

Other Family Violence Networks

Council Officers sit on a number of family violence committees, networks and communities of practices in order to work collaboratively and stay up to date with best practice in our region on primary prevention initiatives to end gender based and family violence.

Council is a member of the Women's Health Loddon Mallee Collective Action for Respect and Gender Equality Act (CARE) Partnership which aims to connect, align and support organisations, clubs and community groups in their commitment to forwarding gender equality in their communities and preventing violence against women. To find out more or to join the regional CARE partnership please visit Women's Health Loddon Mallee CARE Partnership/

Council is also represented on the:

  • Women’s Health Loddon Mallee Prevention of Violence Against Women Community of Practice (CoP)
  • Women’s Health Loddon Mallee Gender Equity CoP
  • Municipal Association of Victoria Gender Equality & Prevention of Violence Against Women and Gender Based Violence Network

If you're experiencing family and gender-based violence, you're not alone.

Access support services