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Change the story: Framework Foundations 1: A review of the evidence on correlates of violence against women and what works to prevent it

This paper was prepared to inform the development of Change the Story. It reviews key research on violence against women and what works to prevent it, and draws on relevant theoretical literature to provide a conceptual framework within which to present the findings. The paper points to gender inequality as an underlying, or root cause of violence against women, identifying specific dimensions of ‘gender regimes’ or ‘gender orders’ that are correlated with such violence. It notes that gender inequality operates in intersection with other social inequalities, and considers the differential impact of these intersections on different demographic groups. It then identifies specific factors that contribute to violence against women, grouping these into four categories: those associated with gender inequality; those associated with the practice of and response to violence against women; those associated with the practice of and response to violence in general; and those challenging gender hierarchies, compounding gender inequalities or weakening non-violent and gender equitable social norms. It further argues that these factors are influenced by three key mechanisms operating at multiple levels of the social ecology: social practices, social norms and social structures. The paper then considers the literature on prevention. It draws on lessons learned from other areas of prevention, particularly tobacco use and road traffic accidents, to suggest a number of principles and approaches that might be applied to the prevention of violence against women. Finally, the paper turns to the literature specifically related to the prevention of violence against women, reviewing the state of evidence for different kinds of intervention, and identifying effective and promising practice. It concludes by synthesising the findings of the research in order to inform the development of a comprehensive approach to preventing violence against women in Australia.

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