A new program in Victoria recognises councils as the forefront of family violence prevention. 

Victoria's Minister for Prevention of Family Violence Gabrielle Williams unveiled the Free from Violence Local Government Program 2022-2025at the Municipal Association of Victoria’s (MAV) Gender Equality, and Preventing Violence Against Women and all forms of Gender-Based Violence Network meeting this week. 

It offers grants of up to $270,000 over three years to councils, supporting the implementation of The Local Government Guide To Preventing Family Violence and All Forms of Violence Against Women (the Guide), to be released mid-2022.

Ms Williams also unveiled MAV’s Communities Free from Violence: local government leading change, a publication and video showcasing the 35 council projects funded by a previous grants program. 

The booklet and video explain why councils are a critical facilitator in tackling the issue, providing examples of the breadth of diverse work many communities have already undertaken to prevent family violence and all forms of violence against women.

This work includes forming community coalitions, engaging sector experts and providing training and support to improve gender equality and prevent family violence. 

The results of these initiatives show the benefit of utilising existing council networks and community connections in preventing all forms of family violence.

MAV President Cr David Clark said the new program will help councils to continue the significant work that has already started to prevent family violence.

“For more than a decade, Victorian councils have proven their unrivalled reach and capacity to engage with community around the issue of family violence prevention,” he said. 

“Councils are working alongside sports clubs, businesses and schools to drive real, sustainable change and we’re proud to emphasise this work through our publications and those of our member Councils.

“It’s fitting that this announcement is made during the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence. 

“Councils are doing an important job engaging their communities in conversations about gender equality, respect and ending the scourge of family violence through this campaign.”