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The City of Casey has a longstanding commitment to promoting gender equality and preventing violence against women. To support our commitment, we developed the A Safe and Equal Casey: A Gender Equality and Prevention of Violence Against Women Strategic Plan 2022-2032.
Gender equality is a human right and a shared responsibility. We all have the right to live in a safe and equal society, have access to equal power, resources and opportunities and be treated with dignity, respect and fairness. It provides all people, regardless of gender, opportunities to do their best work, live their best lives and contribute meaningfully to society. Importantly, it is also a precondition to the prevention of violence against women.
The City of Casey also acknowledges the gender equality principles outlined in the Gender Equality Act and – through this strategic plan– aims to meet and exceed its commitments. As the closest tier of government to the community, it is Council's responsibility to lead in the pursuit of gender equality and set the standard for Casey’s local population.
Why this work is important
Having a low level of support for gender equality is the strongest predictor of attitudes supporting gendered violence or violence against women. Primary prevention of violence against women aims to stop violence before it starts by addressing the underlying drivers of violence.
There are four key expressions of gender inequality that drive violence against women:
- Condoning of violence against women
- Men’s control of decision-making and limits to women’s independence in public and private life
- Rigid gender stereotyping and dominant forms of masculinity
- Male peer relations and cultures of masculinity that emphasise aggression, dominance and control
We are focusing on violence against women because violence affects women disproportionately in Australia, occurring across all socio-economic and demographic groups. Evidence is clear that this violence is gendered in nature and overwhelmingly perpetrated by men. Violence against women occurs across cultures and communities. It affects women’s well-being and prevents them from fully participating in society.
International and Australian research clearly demonstrates that violence against women is driven by gender inequality. Gender inequality is where women and men do not have equal social status, power, resources or opportunities, and their voices, ideas and work are not valued equally by society.
Why local government
Local Government is in a unique position of having significant reach, influence and access to local communities through the various services and functions that we provide. When thinking about Council’s role in supporting gender equality and preventing violence against women, we see 4 key roles:
1. Council as a leader
We can lead by example by embedding primary prevention in all aspects of how we operate as an organisation and as decision-makers.
2. Council as a service provider
We can engage with community members across their entire lifespan, providing an opportunity to address drivers of inequality and violence in the delivery of our core services.
3. Council as a supporter
We can support individuals, organisations and community groups to take their actions for primary prevention, as well as advocating for changes.
4. Council as a connector
We can use our community connections to bring together diverse groups and organisations to take action for primary prevention.
The City of Casey recognises that social change takes time and requires long-term commitment and action. We take a whole-of-council approach to gender equality and primary prevention, which means that primary prevention is built into every part of Council’s work.
This diagram illustrates the journey we believe we need to go on to achieve our goals and sets our broad direction for the next ten years.
Action in our community
Gender Equality Taskforce
The Gender Equality Taskforce (GET) was established in March 2021 to enable community led approaches that promote gender equality and prevent violence against women in Casey. The GET is made up of over twenty women from different socio-economic backgrounds, cultural groups and LGBTIQ+ community. Membership includes, lived experience of violence against women, students, those in the workforce and different family compositions.
- Organising events for 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence and International Women’s Day
- Providing advice that ensures that policies, programs and services are meeting the different needs of women, men and gender diverse people (Intersectional Gender Impact Assessments)
- Identifying other projects that they see as priorities for themselves and their communities
Providing culturally safe spaces and programs: Casey Aboriginal Gathering Place
The Casey Aboriginal Gathering Place (CAGP) is a culturally safe space that provides community with a range of programs and service. The CAGP is helping to build a strong sense of culture and community and break down barriers between the Aboriginal and nonAboriginal community.
Significant community outcomes have been achieved to date, including increased social connection and cultural awareness, strengthening of cultural identity through cultural activities, a sense of empowerment and improving links to other service providers. The CAGP has had a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of the community members who attend the centre. Much of the impact is through tailored programs that simultaneously strengthen connection to culture.
The CAGP offers programs across the lifespan from babies through to older people. There are various programs available for the broader Aboriginal community and programs tailored specifically for particular age groups and needs. Examples include the programs for children and youth; there are also programs for people who are aged or have a disability. These programs include the Interactive Gardening Group, Yarn and Art Group and the Craft and Yarn Women’s Group. A strong focus of the CAGP programming is on supporting Aboriginal children and youth.
For more info see: https://www.casey.vic.gov.au/aboriginal-sites-cultural-events-casey
Grace Tame visits Casey
In 2022 the community Gender Equality Taskforce supported an International Women’s Day event at Bunjil Place with Australian of the Year, Grace Tame. The event was an overwhelming success; over 1600 people registered to attend the event and heard Grace’s message around the importance of holding unjust systems and unacceptable behaviours to account. The taskforce involvement meant that this event was promoted and reached a wider breadth of the Casey population, and helped to ensure that the message was grounded and speaking to the realities of Casey’s diverse communities.
Making our streets safe for women and girls
Women and girls often feel unsafe in public especially at night. In partnership with Monash University XYX Lab, we have developed The Safe in Her City Gender Audit Tool. It incorporates the voices of women and girls with the expertise of urban designers and community safety practitioners, to assess and inform the design and continual improvement of public spaces and places.
Our Gender Equality Taskforce has been trained and piloted the tool. The next phase of the project will be to test the Tool in a range of geographical settings and facilitate co-design workshops to ensure the results, and women’s voices are front and centre in the way we design our cities.
Working on initiatives for those most at risk in our community, means we will be making a safer community for all. The project was awarded a ‘commendation’ by the Australian Design Awards.
The #CaseyGirlsCan campaign
#CaseyGirlsCan is an ongoing campaign by Council that encourages women and girls to get involved in sport and physical activity, addressing barriers to their participation and supporting the broader Victorian This Girl Can campaign. The program offers a variety of free activities for women and girls in Casey who would otherwise find it difficult to access and participate in physical activity and connect with others in their community. The program particularly focused on Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities and empowered CALD women to take up leadership roles and lead local, culturally appropriate physical activities for other women.
For more info see: https://www.casey.vic.gov.au/casey-girls-can
Action in our Council
Taking action towards an equal workplace at Council
Our Gender Equality Action Plan 2022-2026 is one of the ways Council works towards the primary prevention of violence against women. We endorsed this action plan in March 2022 and it will shape our whole-of-organisation approach and commitment to the Gender Equality Act 2020.
The Gender Equality Action Plan will help us make sure that all those working at Council:
- feel safe and are safe
- are treated fairly and equitably, and have the same opportunities to progress their careers
- know how to apply a gender lens across their work, to ensure that the different priorities of women, men and gender diverse people are considered
Our three main priorities for action are:
- Preventing and responding to workplace sexual harassment
- Establishing our architecture (systems, policies and data
- Building gender equality awareness, commitment and capacity
Our community-led Gender Equality Taskforce and the Council’s Champions of Change group will work towards these priority aims and build on the Council’s momentum and leadership towards a Safe and Equal City of Casey.
Building gender capacity in emergency management
Under the Gender Equality Act 2020, all local councils in Victoria must undertake Gender Impact Assessments on any new or revised policy, program or service that has a direct impact on the public. These assessments are designed to help organisations think critically about how to meet the different needs of women, men and gender diverse people and create better and fairer outcomes for all communities.
One example of a GIA that Council has undertaken is for Council’s work in emergency management. The City of Casey partnered with Gender and Disaster Australia to develop a checklist and training to assist emergency management professionals apply a gender lens to their work. This was piloted by Council’s emergency management team and as a result staff have developed action plans and made changes in existing systems and processes. The team also developed a new role specifically for emergency gender and inclusion that will be available to respond in the set-up of an evacuation centre, and new partnerships were also identified with LGBTQI+ and family violence response organisations.
How we measure success
Council's work, and approach to monitoring, evaluation and learning, is underpinned by our principles. At the heart of this approach is that we are committed to being led by communities in terms of what questions we ask, what we define as success and what evidence and whose insights count.
Council’s monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL) framework provides a guide to how we will measure our impact, learn and improve, as we work to achieve our long-term vision for everyone to be safe and equal in the City of Casey. This helps us to be accountable to those that fund our work, to our community partners who work alongside us, and to all those impacted by gender inequality and gender-based violence.
If you are in danger call 000 for police or ambulance.
If you are experiencing family violence or are concerned for another person’s safety, you can contact one of many helplines for assistance.