2024 ‘Addressing Violence against Women and their Children’ Category Honourable Mention

Adelaide Hills Council, SA

Implementing Our Watch’s Prevention Toolkit for Local Government

2024 ‘Addressing Violence against Women and their Children’ Category Honourable Mention

The Initiative

In February 2023, Adelaide Hills Council committed to implementing Our Watch’s Prevention Toolkit for Local Government (the Toolkit), to prevent violence against women in its workplace and community.

As a first step, the Council made a Statement of Commitment to prevent violence against women and their children, adopted in July 2023.

Since July 2023, the Council has progressed several Toolkit initiatives. This has included establishing an internal Working Group dedicated to driving engagement across the organisation around activities to prevent violence and improve gender equality.

The first major Toolkit initiative, driven by the Working Group, was the Council’s first–time participation in the United Nations (UN) Women’s 16 Days of Activism against Gender–Based Violence. For the 2023 campaign, the Council partnered with the ZONTA Club of Adelaide Hills to deliver a range of activities including:

  • Illuminating the Council’s Coventry Library in orange on 25 November 2023 (Orange is the official colour for the global 16 Days campaign)
  • Displaying ‘orange ladies’ in the Coventry Library along with educational materials about domestic and family violence (DFV) and services
  • At a Council meeting on 28 November 2023 Council Members wore orange ribbons to call for the elimination of violence against women
  • Working Group members organised morning teas across Council worksites
  • Council staff donated Christmas gifts for women staying in domestic violence shelters
  • Attending and promoting the Twilight Vigil organised by the ZONTA Club on 30 November 2023, to remember all women who lost their lives because of domestic violence.

In January 2024, the Council engaged the Our Watch Institute (OWI) to provide expert assistance in implementing Stage 2 of the Toolkit. In February 2024 the OWI delivered executive training with the Council’s Chief Executive Officer and leadership team on ‘leading the change to end violence against women.’ Other initiatives in progress with OWI include a Gender Equity Audit to inform the development of a Gender Equity Action Plan.

Additional elements of this project include creating a new workplace policy and procedure for the Council’s people leaders to respond to employee disclosures of DFV, in consultation with Women’s Safety Services SA.

Adelaide Hills Council will continue to work with its partners to address and increase workforce and community awareness of the underlying drivers of DFV.

About the Category

The ‘Addressing Violence against Women and their Children’ category recognises local government initiatives which:

  • address underlying causes of gender inequality and power imbalances to eliminate violence against women and their children;
  • support and advocate for women and children experiencing family and domestic violence and sexual harassment; and/or
  • raise awareness and create cultures and communities of respect, inclusion and gender equality.

Successful initiatives in this award category benefit communities by:

  • preventing violence towards women by driving sustainable change in community awareness, attitudes and behaviours;
  • supporting women and children who are at risk of, or experiencing, family and domestic violence, sexual violence or sexual harassment; and/or
  • changing the attitudes and social norms that excuse or condone disrespect, sexual harassment and abuse.

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