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Office for Women

Response Pillar 1: Primary prevention

Primary Prevention Actions

Below are the Primary Prevention actions outlined in the Committed to Safety Framework. To see how these are being implemented, view our Action Progress Update.

Short Term Actions

Theme Action No.Action
Reframed Violence Against Women Collaborations 1.1 Violence Against Women (VAW) Collaborations are multi-agency partnerships that focus on the development of local primary prevention strategies to prevent violence against women. They bring together local service providers to develop strategic regional approaches to respond to and prevent violence against women that are tailored to the specific strengths, profile and needs of a region. We will revisit the VAW Collaborations to link them with the new safety hubs as they are developed, but also to ensure that each collaboration has a strong focus on primary prevention with support from White Ribbon ambassadors and advocates and Our Watch. We will also give the collaborations a mechanism to provide feedback to government via the Chief Executives Group.
Employment and Leadership Strategy 1.2 We will develop a new Employment and Leadership Strategy aimed at increasing women’s participation, with a focus on non-traditional and growth employment areas. Consultation with the business sector and other key stakeholders will be critical to the development of this strategy, with a focus on small and medium enterprises (SMEs), not-for-profits, and larger corporates.

Medium Term Actions

Theme Action No.Action
Development of a Primary Prevention Toolkit for local government 1.3 Based on work being piloted by the Commonwealth Government, we will continue to work with our Federal colleagues to help support the use of the tool kits to assist South Australian councils to coordinate and promote primary prevention initiatives in their local communities.
Expansion of Women’s Information Service (WIS) Children’s Centre’s program 1.4 Building on the significant success of the two pilot sites, the WIS in partnership with the Department for Education will expand the program to other Children’s Centres. We have seen significant success in our trial sites, with many of the former WIS volunteers moving into paid employment in a wide range of vocations after gaining valuable experience at the Children’s Centre. There is potential for our safety hubs to be associated with this work.
Ensuring government funding supports respectful representations of women and domestic violence policies 1.5 We will explore options to ensure we fund organisations that represent women respectfully, as well as assisting business to support employees experiencing domestic or sexual violence.

Long Term Actions

Theme Action No.Action
Working with business 1.6 We will work closely with SMEs in South Australia to support their critical role in women’s participation, in partnership with the Chiefs for Gender Equity. We have been a leader in this space and have much to share with business about the benefits of diversity.
Working with business 1.7 We will provide information to help SMEs incorporate policies and activities that support employees affected by domestic violence in the workplace. We will also consider the delivery of training to businesses in partnership with South Australia’s Small Business Commissioner, WGEA, the EOC and the Working Women’s Centre.
Working with business 1.8 We will explore the development of a ‘supplier multiplier’ initiative that aims to provide contracted government work to organisations who are actively working to achieve gender equality.

Targeted Actions

Target AudienceAction No.Action
Children and young people1.9We will explore the use of prevention programs that address the impacts of childhood trauma associated with domestic and family violence. Programs would also include links to services that are designed to address trauma and cater for families with complex needs. We will focus on young fathers and young men as perpetrators and victims of domestic and family violence to prevent intergenerational violence in families.
Children and young people1.10We will explore the development of a primary prevention plan aimed at young people, based on Our Watch’s Change the Story Primary Prevention Framework to coordinate activities within schools, TAFEs, universities, sporting clubs, work places, and across media channels with a focus on young people. This work could include evaluation of the existing education curricula, the development of accountability measures for funded respectful relationships programs and targeted programs for vulnerable, disengaged boys to prevent their transition into young parenthood and perpetrator behaviour.
Children and young people1.11We will take an active role in the National Stop it at the Start campaign and other primary prevention activities aimed at young people occurring under the National Plan.
Children and young people1.12The Office for Women will work with local government and community groups on their role within the community to initiate and contribute to primary prevention activities, such as through the local government Youth Development Network.
Children and young people1.13We will work with the business sector, focusing on those employing significant numbers of young people to assist them with advice about making sure workplaces are safe and respectful.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people1.14We will undertake active engagement with Far West Coast Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in order to begin co-developing an holistic plan for addressing family violence in the region, which could be tailored for other regions.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people1.15We will use Our Watch’s new Change the Picture framework in practice and policy development, with an ongoing focus on the impacts of racism and colonisation.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people1.16We will continue to engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women across South Australia through State Aboriginal Women’s Gatherings.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people1.17We will explore work around Australia developed by and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, to consider their potential application in South Australia.
Women with disabilities1.18An awareness campaign will be run for the carers/support workers of women with disabilities on domestic violence and sexual assault.
Women with disabilities1.19We will promote the positive representation of women with disabilities in government materials.
Culturally and linguistically diverse people1.20We will continue our partnership with WSSSA and Multicultural Communities Council of South Australia to ensure that faith leaders have the information and support they need to educate their communities about the importance of equality and respect.
Culturally and linguistically diverse people1.21The Office for Women will support the new Council of Migrant and Refugee Women (CMRW) of SA established by South Australia’s Australian Migrant Resource Centre to help women from diverse backgrounds network, increase their skills and opportunities and provide advice to government.
Culturally and linguistically diverse people1.22We will work with non-government organisations to explore options to provide education about violence to women on temporary visas who are at risk of domestic abuse and/or sexual assault.
Older women1.23The Mature Women Can resource provided us with some key figures about older women and their risk of homelessness and violence. We need to intervene early and ensure that older women can maintain employment, share their extensive skills and knowledge and enjoy lifelong learning. In partnership with the Council of the Ageing South Australia (COTA SA), we will act on key themes arising from COTA SA’s recent ‘Mature Employment Think Tank’ and the ongoing work of that body.
Older women1.24We will help the Office for Ageing Well and COTA SA facilitate digital literacy and other workshops aimed at upskilling older women in safe and welcoming environments. There is also an opportunity to tap into the Commonwealth Government’s $100 million mature age Career Transition Assistance program to provide more opportunities for older people to gain additional skills.
Older women1.25We will explore the development of an awareness raising campaign to highlight the difference between elder abuse and domestic and family violence, with a specific focus on ‘informal’ carers.
People living in regional and remote areas1.26As part of our work with the VAW Collaborations, young people and local government, we will ensure that there is an ongoing focus on the needs of our regional and remote communities and primary prevention, with assistance from Our Watch and White Ribbon ambassadors and advocates.
People living in regional and remote areas1.27We will work with community leaders to help them deliver messages about respect and equality


Primary prevention is key in ending domestic, family and sexual violence.

There is a strong evidence base that indicates improving women’s leadership and economic participation is a key tool in the prevention of domestic, family and sexual violence, but this is not the only rationale for focusing our work in these spaces. There are benefits to the state, to employers, to communities and to women themselves.

In addition, we know that changing cultural and social attitudes is crucial. Challenging gender stereotypes is central to primary prevention work. This is why South Australia provided funding and support to the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) ‘Stop it at the Start’ campaign, aimed at addressing gender roles and norms which young people are exposed to and we will continue to promote it. The role of men in addressing sexism in our culture also needs to be considered, building on the work of the White Ribbon movement.

Educational institutions, workplaces, sporting facilities and our own communities and families are all important sites of change in terms of sexism and gender roles.

Primary prevention requires changing the social conditions, such as gender inequality, that excuse, justify or even promote violence against women and their children.

Individual behaviour change may be the intended result of prevention activity, but such change cannot be achieved prior to, or in isolation from, a broader change in the underlying drivers of such violence across communities, organisations and society as a whole. A primary prevention approach works across the whole population to address the attitudes, practices and power differentials that drive violence against women and their children. (Change the Story p13, 2015)


Promotion of South Australian women

The Office for Women currently promotes women’s leadership and participation via awards designed to recognise the contribution of women in South Australia. This includes, for example, work with the Australia Day Council on awards, as well as continuing our work on the South Australian Women’s Honour Roll and the Premier’s Women’s Directory. More information on these initiatives can be found on the Office for Women website.

125th anniversary of suffrage community grants

We committed $125,000 in order to provide small grants of up to $5,000 to the South Australian public to support initiatives that will commemorate the 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage during 2019.

Youth grants

We have committed $120,000 to provide the Youth Services Primary Prevention Training and Small Grants program. This program will include provision of training to eligible South Australian youth services regarding Our Watch’s national primary prevention framework ‘Change the Story’ and supporting resources such as ‘Changing the Picture’, followed by an opportunity for services to access a one-off, small grant for new or unfunded primary prevention initiatives.

Economic participation

We will also maintain a focus on economic participation through the development of a new key strategy (the Employment and Leadership Strategy). This will be a companion Framework to this one, featuring a strong focus on economic participation.

Lived experience group

The Office for Women is a member of the steering committee currently led by WSSSA called ‘Voices for Change.’ The group will work to build the skills of survivors of domestic, family and sexual violence to speak out in the media about violence and the importance of responses to violence, including primary prevention.

Chiefs for Gender Equity

The Chiefs for Gender Equity are high profile South Australian business people, who advocate for, role model and promote business activities that encourage equality and diversity.

The Chiefs will be active participants in the work we are planning to undertake with businesses in South Australia.



Workplaces are key environments for preventative action to reduce violence against women and support women affected by domestic violence. They also play an important role in standing against the cultural and social attitudes that underpin men’s use of violence towards women. We will work with a range of South Australian workplaces to share the experiences of our departments.

South Australian Government departments have implemented domestic violence workplace policies and have undertaken White Ribbon Accreditation led by the EOC.

Departments are also committed to making flexible work accessible. All employees can access special domestic violence leave should they need it.

In work also led by the EOC, the SA Public Sector is embarking on a three-year project to strengthen workplace gender equality and promote safe and respectful workplaces for all employees.

The Workplace Equality and Respect Project aims to ensure that participating SA Public Sector agencies are equipped with the tools, knowledge and capacity to apply best practice approaches to workplace gender equality and respect in the prevention of violence against women.

Local government – LG Toolkit (National Plan)

Recognising the key roles local governments (LG) can play, the Commonwealth Government as part of the National Plan is currently piloting toolkits related to violence against women. These toolkits provide advice to local governments about addressing violence, emphasising the importance of primary prevention. We will also consider appointing local government champions to deliver key messages.

Sport, recreation and public places

Sporting clubs, both small and large, professional and community based, can have significant impacts in the community. They are well placed to drive messages | 17 about respect and saying no to violence against women.

The Office for Women will work closely with the Office for Recreation, Sport and Racing to roll out primary prevention initiatives that focus on respectful relationships. We will also look to developing a code of conduct for sporting clubs.

We recently launched the ‘Ask for Angela’ initiative that focuses on safety in public spaces, and further initiatives regarding public safety will be explored.


All children and young people in the Department for Education preschools and schools currently have access to an approved child protection curriculum (Keeping Safe: Child Protection Curriculum) each year.

Popular culture and social media

The’ #metoo’ movement has been an incredible phenomenon across the world. It has illustrated not only the power of social media, but just how widespread negative attitudes, violence and harassment towards women really are. The movement has brought much needed attention at all levels of society to violence against women. Popular culture is a key site for achieving cultural change.

The Women’s Information Service social media channels will continue to actively engage stakeholders and members of the public.

Page last updated : 07 Feb 2022

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Provided by:
Department of Human Services
Last Updated:
02 Mar 2021
Printed on:
08 Jul 2022
The Office for Women website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia Licence. © Copyright 2016