Turning tide on violence against women

The City of Melbourne will expand its efforts to improve women’s safety and promote gender equality, through a range of new actions and initiatives.

​At Tuesday’s Future Melbourne Committee meeting, councillors endorsed the Prevention of Violence Against Women Action Plan 2021-2024, which sets out how Council will advocate, educate and act to eliminate violence against women.

Lord Mayor Sally Capp said the safety and participation of women and non-binary gender diverse people is a key priority for Council.

“We know one in three women have experienced at least one incident of violence in their lifetime, and more than half have been sexually harassed. That’s simply unacceptable,” the Lord Mayor said.

“The City of Melbourne is committed to transforming the underlying causes of violence against women, and disrupting the drivers of that violence, through targeted actions and initiatives.

“Everyone deserves to feel safe in our city, and this Action Plan will help us to tackle the problem head on.”

The Action Plan identifies a number of priority projects for the next 12 months, which include:

  • Partnering with the Night Time Economy Advisory Committee to implement measures to protect women’s safety and enhance participation.
  • Engaging with neighbourhood-based groups to start conversations with men and boys about their role as bystanders and allies for women.
  • Acknowledging influential women in Melbourne’s history, through street naming, monuments, plaques, arts, awards and events.
  • Implementing a program to increase women’s participation in sports and active recreation in Melbourne’s west.

The Lord Mayor said the Action Plan also aims to promote the safety of women and girls in Melbourne’s public spaces.

“We’ve recently invested more than $2.8 million to maintain and upgrade security measures across the CBD, including $1.8 million to maintain 16,000 street lights, but we also want to do more to promote safe and healthy interactions,” the Lord Mayor said
“Our Action Plan will complement these important infrastructure projects, with initiatives to address violence against women and support gender equality at a community level.
“The City of Melbourne must and will show leadership in efforts to reduce, and ultimately end, violence against women.”
Health, Wellbeing and Belonging portfolio lead, Councillor Dr Olivia Ball, said clear action is needed to address gender inequality and family violence.
“There is emerging evidence that gender equality is getting worse, with the COVID pandemic disproportionately affecting women,” Cr Dr Ball said.

“Having already started from a position of unequal pay and superannuation, more women have lost their jobs and working hours during the pandemic than men. Fewer women have accessed income support to get through the crisis.

“The Action Plan recognises the link between gender inequality and gender-based violence and provides immediate actions we can take to turn the tide, to ensure women feel safe and supported in our city.”

The City of Melbourne is seeking feedback from the community on the Action Plan, which will guide priorities and projects beyond the next 12 months. The Action Plan will be available for public comment until 12 October.

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