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Prevalent and Preventable

Late September, I attended the Prevalent and Preventable conference supported by AWAVA and OurWATch in Adelaide. The conference is the first of its kind, providing key insights into the prevention of Violence Against Women and their Children. The reason for attending the conference was to gain a better understanding of the national issue regarding Violence Against Women and their Children and to identify possible actions Spatial Vision can take to help reduce the prevalence and identify innovative ideas to help organisations in early prevention through an understanding of data. 

It was a fantastic two days with thought provoking key note speakers, lots of reflection and discussions on key challenges associated with the work of preventing violence against women.

The conference was segregated into four streams:
• Preventing violence against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women
• Putting intersectionality into practise: ensuring that prevention efforts respond and tackle the complex multiple forms of discrimination that many women face
• Learning from prevention work in our region: low-resourced settings and translating international ideas into local spaces
• Children and young people as agents of change.

I attended sessions from each stream, however primarily focused on intersectionality. Intersectionality acknowledges the diversity and unique qualities of people; it includes sexuality, all genders including non-binary genders, race, education, class, wealth and religion. The key take home message was the compounding factors if you identify with one or more of the minority groups and where support networks exist. The concept of gender neutrality is a goal, however with core differences, gender specificity must be considered for equality. This concept resonates with all components of intersectionality, in that all people require specificity and respect to each other’s needs. Additionally support networks must be inclusive of all people of all sections of society.

The statistics on violence are overwhelmingly grim. 1 in 4 women experience violence, with 90% of the time, the perpetrator being intimate violence from a current or former partner. A child every fortnight will experience violence, and they are helpless in such a situation. Funding is limited to support victims and early-prevention, yet the finical costs on the government to provide reactive support in the health system is billions of dollars. If money was invested in early prevention, this could save victims in terms of mental health, physical health, and provide a safer community for all people, and save the health system billions of dollars in reactive care.

Image from Adelaide Advertiser - "Stop Slaughter in our neighbourhoods" by Lauren Novak on 21st September 2016.

A successful action that has been implemented in the school curriculum, is a program on respectful relationships. The education provides children with the knowledge of support networks, and of a respectful culture. A systematic change must occur within our culture to respect people, and condemn violent or abusive behaviour. Today’s statistics show that the primary perpetrators of violence are men, yet men are not born with an innate predisposition to abuse women. It is therefore a learnt behaviour within our culture. The respectful relationships programs aims to teach and engrain a respectful culture into their lives of our future generations to prevent violent behaviour. This change has to happen across the whole community, in sports, the workplace, at home, and in religion. The respectful relationships program begins this change from an early age.

What does all of this mean for Spatial Vision, and what can we do to support organisations fighting to prevent Violence Against Women?
• Could a federated data model be designed to support organisations to contribute data to a national framework to report and monitor the impacts of early prevention? This would enable service organisations to use a standardised model, and help build a national picture.
• Can intersectionality be mapped to gain a better understanding of our countries diversity?
• Could we provide a national Atlas to provide the community or support organisations with a national understanding of the issues?
• Could we provide a way to interact with data, to visualise the dynamic and complex concepts of intersectionality?
• Could we develop an online platform to interact with evidence based data to help inform policy?
• Could we enable an online platform where the ability to query and interpret data without specialised data skills can provide a contextual framework to work from.
• Could a platform be developed to assist victims of violence find support, based on their location that identifies registered support organisations - or will this provide perpetrators with the knowledge of where to go and therefore no longer be safe?
• Could a platform be developed to monitor and evaluate the impacts of the efforts from today and the future in preventing violence against women.
• Could we develop a standardised data collection system that organisations can leverage and use to help provide a national view of the prevalent issue. It was noted during the conference that data gained from consultation and research and storing it in a meaningful, user-friendly database is still very much at its infancy.

If you are interested in partnering with Spatial Vision to address or investigate these ideas, such as developing a data model or data visualisation on the work you do, please contact Katie Dick at Spatial Vision to discuss the complex topic and how we may assist. Alternatively please fill out our contact form.

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