Thursday 25 November 2021 marks the start of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, which ends on Human Rights Day on 10 December.
This year, the VLGA team will be joining people across Victoria to raise awareness and walk in solidarity with victim-survivors of family violence and violence against women.
Each of us have a role to play to end gender-based violence and the 79 local councils in Victoria have the legislated responsibility to act in preventing family violence and respond to the needs of victim-survivors of family violence in their local community. As the ‘closest level of government to the community’, local government is uniquely placed to prevent violence against women and children before it occurs.
Legislative responsibilities for councils under the Local Government Act 2020, the Gender Equality Act 2020 and the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 are more than just obligations – they create an authorising environment for change.
Research shows that it is gender inequality that creates the necessary social context for violence against women to occur. But councils – within their organisations and through their elected leadership – can, and are already, challenging the attitudes and beliefs that lead to violence against women, by:
As Victorian councils finalise their first Gender Equality Action Plans (required under the Gender Equality Act 2020), the VLGA looks forward to supporting local governments to continue to ‘walk the walk’ on gender equality.
Quotes attributable to VLGA Chief Executive Officer, Kathryn Arndt:
“As we ‘walk from home’ today, the VLGA team will be reflecting on why we walk. Many of us have personal experiences with friends or family that we draw upon, but for us as an organisation, the bottom line is – family violence is unacceptable, entirely preventable, and for local government to take action is a matter of a good governance.”
“The VLGA is committed to continuing to support local councils to promote and advance gender equality in their communities and across their organisations. Gender equality is everyone’s business.”
“Victoria is in an exciting position, 9 months into the implementation of the Gender Equality Act 2020. With less than 4 years left to reach the Victorian government’s target of 50 per cent women councillors by 2025, the VLGA looks forward to working with the state government to support women to participate in local government decision-making, through our Local Women Leading Change project and leading research.”
The VLGA acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Victoria and recognises their continuing connection to land, waters and community. We pay our respects to the Traditional Owners, their elders past, present and future, and to their cultures.
The advice provided by the VLGA is intended to be guidance only. It is not a substitute for legal or formal advice from relevant regulatory bodies.
© Victorian Local Governance Association 2023