The DV Project: 2650

The Wagga Women’s Health Centre (WWHC) has always envisaged a community with zero tolerance for domestic violence – a DV free zone.

In 2015, we developed a long-term project, the DV project:2650, believing a whole of community approach was the only way to realise this vision. This project aims to prevent Domestic Violence in Wagga Wagga by focusing on its root cause – gender inequality.

We believe that: the condoning of violence against women, men’s control of decision-making and limits to women’s independence, stereotyped constructions of masculinity and femininity, and disrespect towards women and male peer relations that emphasises aggression, creates the environment in which Domestic Violence can occur. On December 7th 2016 we launched the Domestic Violence in Wagga Wagga—Community Attitudes Survey report.

The results of this phase of the study indicate that normative support for domestic violence is low in Wagga Wagga, however there are still some significant minorities willing to blame the victim or excuse, trivialise or minimise domestic violence. Nationally there has been a stalling of attitudes supportive of gender equality, even while research shows that high support for gender equality is one of the most influential factors for attitudes that support action against domestic violence.

Increasing knowledge and understanding of the more subtle forms of domestic violence, the dynamics of a violent relationship and the obstacles to women leaving such a relationship would be key components of interventions to address domestic violence.

There would also be some benefit from directing interventions specifically to men, young people under 24 years and people from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds and new migrants and refugees.

Cristy Houghton