Leaders preventing violence

Leaders preventing violence

More than 40 local leaders from across East Gippsland met in Lakes Entrance to collaborate on how to prevent violence last Wednesday.

The fourth East Gippsland Partnership Forum created the opportunity for partners to come together to develop local collective goals in response to this complex problem.

Led by Dr Tracy Castelino, attendees built a shared understanding of prevention of violence, heard from local specialists about prevention efforts and identified areas for change.

Dr Castelino presented to the group on the links between leadership, gender equality and the experiences of violence for women.

“Leadership from organisations and local businesses across the community shapes local conversations and has the ability to influence the experiences of local men, women and children,” Dr Castelino said.

In 2017, organisations from across the region identified the prevention of violence as one of the highest priorities for East Gippsland, as reflected in East Gippsland’s Health and Wellbeing Plan, Well-Placed for Wellbeing.

Collaborative prevention efforts are led by the East Gippsland Partners in Violence Prevention, comprising a large number of organisations from across the region.

Although led by organisations, Dr Castelino highlighted the critical importance that everyone plays in preventing violence. This was reiterated by leaders.

“Everyone has a role in the prevention of violence, it’s just a matter of working out what that role is,” Emily White, executive officer of the East Gippsland Primary Care Partnership and who chaired the forum, said.

Violence against women is a widespread problem in Australia, with approximately one quarter of women in Australia experiencing at least one incident of violence by an intimate partner. Intimate partner violence is the greatest health risk factor (greater than smoking, alcohol and obesity) for women in their reproductive years, resulting in major personal, government, and business costs. The total annual cost of violence against women and their children in Australia was estimated to be $22 billion in 2015-16.