Violence against women is prevalent but preventable. By understanding what drives violence against women and taking action to change the structures, norms and practices that allow it to occur, workplaces can help create an Australia free from violence.
Violence against women takes many forms: physical, sexual, psychological and financial.
If you, a child, or another person is in immediate danger, call 000. For sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service call 1800 RESPECT 1800 737 732 for 24/7 phone and online services.
Evidence shows that violence against women is much more likely to occur when power, opportunities and resources are not shared equally between men and women in society, and when women are not valued and respected as much as men.
Violence against women has distinct gendered drivers. Evidence points to four factors that most consistently predict or ‘drive’ violence against women and explain its gendered patterns.
When societies, institutions or communities support or condone violence against women, levels of such violence are higher. Individual men who hold these beliefs are more likely to perpetrate violence against women. Condoning of violence against women occurs in many ways, through practices that justify, excuse or trivialise this violence or shift blame from the perpetrator to the victim.
Violence is more common in relationships in which men control decision-making and limit women’s autonomy, have a sense of ownership of or entitlement to women, and hold rigid ideas on acceptable female behaviour. Constraints on women’s independence and access to decision-making are also evident in the public sphere, where men have greater control over power and resources. This sends a message that women have lower social value and are less worthy of respect.
Promoting and enforcing rigid and hierarchical gender stereotypes reproduces the social conditions of gender inequality that underpin violence against women. In particular, socially dominant stereotypes of masculinity play a direct role in driving men’s violence against women.
Male peer relationships (both personal and professional) that are characterised by attitudes, behaviours or norms regarding masculinity that centre on aggression, dominance, control or hypersexuality are associated with violence against women.