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Northern Metropolitan Melbourne

Covering: Banyule, Darebin, Hume, Moreland, Nillumbik, Whittlesea and Yarra.

Lead agency for preventing violence against women

Women’s Health In the North aims to strengthen women’s health, safety and wellbeing. We offer a range of programs, training and community services as well as research and advocacy across our four priority areas.  We have particular expertise in meeting the needs of women who are most marginalised by the health system.

Regional partnership and strategy

Building a Respectful Community Strategy 2017–2021 builds on the impressive range of work occurring across Melbourne's north, and works towards a gender equitable and non-violent community where women and girls are valued, respected and safe. Following the previous regional strategy, it draws on current national and Victorian frameworks and strategies to apply an evidence-based, intersectional and regional approach to the primary prevention of violence against women for Melbourne's north. The Strategy was developed by the Building a Respectful Community Partnership, an alliance of 26 organisations, led by Women's Health In the North. This includes seven local governments, 13 health services and organisations, three community service organisations and a tertiary institution. All of these partners have committed to taking action on all five goal areas of the Strategy.

Gender Equity in the Early Years

“This session taught me of the
influence we as adults have on
future generations. It was
useful to challenge my own
experience and thoughts”

The early years field is a key setting for change in gender equality and prevention of violence against women, and there is immense value in working in this space. Women’s Health in the North has supported a number of our partner organisations that have carried out key initiatives in the early years field (working with pre-primary aged children). Early years educators and workers are in a unique position to support young children’s ideas and values about gender and gender roles. 

“It made me think of the long-term
impact of violence towards women”

The Gender Equity in the Early Years project, an initiative of Darebin City Council and supported by Women's Health In the North, is one example of work being undertaken in the early years setting. The project has focused on professional development for early years' educators and staff, including local government, librarians, maternal and child health services, and others. A website and set of online tools have also been developed to support this work. This project, while gender equity focused, has also included important information about family violence response. Early years workers have strong relationships with families and as well as working to challenge and change the drivers of violence against women, they need to know how to respond and refer when they become aware of a family violence situation. 

“Gender stereotypes (and gender
as a social construction) are deeply
ingrained and we need to work
constantly to challenge these.”

Alongside this project, Darebin Council developed a Gender Equity Play Space model. The council regularly develops model play spaces that showcase how to design early years spaces that are focused on particular educative purposes. The Gender Equity Play Space showcased a gender equitable early years space in order to support workers to understand how better to create these spaces themselves. 

“We still have a way to go. Educating boys to help them to see the benefits of gender equity rather than just seeing it as a loss of their own power.”

“I can now assist my team in including this information into our development of an early year’s action plan for libraries, and assess the resources we loan to early years services on aspects of gender”

Get involved

Check out the range of activities that Women’s Health in the North are supporting in the region to prevent violence against women

If you are experiencing violence, find information and support here 1800RESPECT.ORG.AU