What is primary prevention?
We need to stop men’s violence against women before it happens.
This is the work of primary prevention and where the work of White Ribbon Australia is focused.
Primary prevention action is implemented before violence against women occurs and aims to stop the likelihood of men and boys using violence against women and girls. Primary prevention does this by addressing the root causes of violence[i]. The White Ribbon social movement and programs focus on primary prevention.
Primary Prevention at Work
Examples of primary prevention include:
- public information and awareness-raising in mass media, workplaces and communities
- educational programs in schools
- programs in workplaces
- government policy establishing frameworks and standards for preventing violence against women[ii] and promoting gender equality.
Through education, awareness raising and creative campaigns, preventative programs, partnerships and political advocacy, White Ribbon Australia highlights the positive role men can play to stop violence against women and enables them to be part of this social change.
Primary prevention is aimed at the whole community.
Secondary prevention focuses on preventing violence from continuing or escalating. Secondary prevention is successful when violence is avoided or stops: victims are no longer victimized(e.g. by leaving a violent relationship) or perpetrators have stopped being violent.
Examples of secondary prevention include:
- Home visits from social workers for new mothers at risk of violence
- behavioral change programs for men with anger management problems
Secondary prevention is aimed at individuals and groups at risk of being victims or perpetrators of violence. People who have survived violence and perpetrators also benefit from secondary prevention.
Tertiary prevention strategies are implemented after violence has occurred. Tertiary prevention focuses on minimizing the impact of violence, restoring health and safety and preventing violence from occurring again.
Examples of tertiary prevention include:
This work can directly support primary and secondary prevention by reducing perpetration and victimization. Tertiary prevention also indirectly contributes to prevention by helping shape community attitudes about violence against women. For example, when community members see the criminal justice system punishing domestic violence, they are more likely to support victims and legal responses to violence.
Tertiary prevention is aimed at victims and perpetrators of violence.
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White Ribbon Australia operates in collaboration with, and alongside, many other organisations working to end men’s violence against women. Our focus and strength is in mobilising men and communities to end men’s violence against women. By working together with other organisations, including our National Plan Partners ANROWS and Our WATCh, we can move the needle on this important social issue.
[i] Chamberlain, L. (2008). A prevention primer for domestic violence: Terminology, tools, and the public health approach.
[ii] See, for example, the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2012 led by the Commonwealth, state and territory governments.