Respect Victoria is a new organisation dedicated to the primary prevention of all forms of family violence, for all Victorians.
The organisation will build on Victoria’s primary prevention platform. It will continue the government’s work to address gender inequality as a root cause of family violence, as well as other forms of discrimination and inequality.
We will work to prevent family violence against all Victorians, including women, men, LGBTI people, Aboriginal Victorians, people from culturally and linguistically diverse communities, people with a disability, older people, children and young people.
We will ensure primary prevention efforts reflect diverse communities. And we will work with partners across a range of settings, including rural and regional Victoria, education and care settings, workplaces, community organisations, faith-based and cultural organisations, sport, the arts and media.
Respect Victoria’s key functions are research and evaluation, and community engagement.
The organisation will lead research into what works to prevent family violence before it starts, to build on the strong primary prevention platform in Victoria, and help improve the way government, organisations and the community prevent family violence.
This includes providing advice to organisations and government to ensure prevention of family violence is implemented across the government and community. Respect Victoria will ensure quality primary prevention programming is core business of the Victorian government.
Respect Victoria will engage the whole Victorian community to change the culture that allows family violence to happen in the first place. This includes communications and public relations activities, behavioural change and positive bystander campaigns.
Community engagement will be based on up to date, high quality evidence and knowledge. This will include promoting awareness in the community through programs, activities and campaigns, to ensure that equality and respect are promoted across the whole community, and that we work towards preventing family violence altogether.
Respect Victoria will report on progress in the prevention of family violence, and table a report to Parliament on trends and outcomes in primary prevention every three years.
Respect Victoria is a dedicated agency focused on addressing all forms of family violence, rather than focussing specifically on men’s violence against women and their children (the focus of Our Watch), or broader health promotion (the remit of VicHealth) or the response system (the focus of Family Safety Victoria).
Respect Victoria will address the significant market gap in preventing family violence for all Victorians. Working with key partners, Respect Victoria aims to prevent family violence against women, men, children and young people, people with a disability, older people, people with diverse gender and sexual identities, and people from diverse cultural backgrounds, by driving high-quality evidence and communicating these findings with government, community and organisations.
Respect Victoria will work collaboratively with the Victorian government to support its broader plan for family violence reform. The government will continue to deliver primary prevention programs and grants. Respect Victoria will provide strategic advice to government about quality, evidence-based programming.
Respect Victoria will also work with local government, and local and regional alliances as key partners in the primary prevention of family violence.
Establishment of Respect Victoria as a Statutory Authority has been subject to the passage of the Prevention of Family Violence Bill 2018. The Bill passed the Legislative Assembly on 9 August and the Legislative Council on 23 August, 2018. The Legislative Assembly agreed to amendments made by the Legislative Council on 5 September 2018 effectively enshrining Respect Victoria in law as a Statutory Authority. We envisage that Respect Victoria will be a fully functioning Statutory Authority by early October 2018.
The Bill establishes Respect Victoria as a Statutory Authority. This means our functions, powers and duties will be protected by law. The Bill ensures the primary prevention of family violence – stopping family violence before it starts - is protected in legislation.
The Victorian government announced it would establish Respect Victoria as a new organisation dedicated to preventing family violence on 29 March 2018.
Establishing Respect Victoria as a Statutory Authority fulfils Recommendation 188 of the Royal Commission into Family Violence. It also delivers on the commitments outlined in Free from violence: Victoria’s strategy to prevent family violence and all forms of violence against women.
Expert evidence presented to the Royal Commission into Family Violence showed that funding for family violence has focused mostly on response. This is an important and necessary focus. However the only way to reduce the overall prevalence of family violence is primary prevention. Primary prevention stops violence before it starts by addressing the underlying factors that drive it. Decreasing demand for family violence services and support has significant economic benefits.
The Royal Commission into Family Violence identified the need to resource an enduring primary prevention initiative. A dedicated initiative ensures prevention efforts are not ad-hoc or disconnected. It means that the existing focus on crisis response is matched by a focus on primary prevention. It means we address all forms of family violence in all Victorian communities.
The Prevention of Family Violence Bill 2018 establishes Respect Victoria’s Chair, Board, CEO and governance structure.
The Board of Respect Victoria will be skills-based and drawn from diverse sectors. Members will have expertise in a range of areas, including prevention of family violence and violence against women, communications, cultural diversity, law, primary health, financial management, risk management and governance.
The Governor in Council will appoint Board members on the recommendation of the Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence. The Board will be independent of the Department of Health and Human Services, and at arm’s length from government.
The Board will undertake an annual review of Respect Victoria’s financial performance, and present its report to the Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence who will then table the report in parliament.
The organisation will be enshrined in legislation which will outline the governance of the Statutory Authority. It will also acknowledge the Agency’s work on addressing two roles and functions being research and evaluation as well as community engagement.
Establishing Respect Victoria as a Statutory Authority will fulfil Recommendation 188 of the Royal Commission into Family Violence. It will also deliver on the commitments outlined in Free from Violence: Victoria’s strategy to prevent family violence and all forms of violence against women.
By providing Respect Victoria with autonomy and independence from government, it will enable the organisation to be impartial; it will enable the Agency to advocate and lobby to and with government on behalf of all Victorians; and it will enable the organisation to establish formal and informal partnership with external parties outside of government, working towards a Victoria free from violence.