06 Sep, 2012 Last updated: 11 Mar, 2015

By Monica Kelly, Program Manger, Preventing Violence Against Women, VicHealth

New police figures show that over the past six years, the number of family violence incidents recorded by police in Victoria has grown every year. In 2011-2012, there were 50,382 recorded incidents of family violence in the state.

Family violence is not just a police issue, it results in a serious health burden that concerns all Victorians.

VicHealth’s research shows family violence is the number one contributor to death and disability in women aged 15 to 44-years-old. That this continues to occur on such a large scale in our community is unacceptable, particularly when we know that violence against women is preventable.

Recent reports have focused on policing and the courts, which play a vital role in responding to this crime. The importance of generating a major societal and cultural shift in attitudes to prevent violence from happening in the first place must not be forgotten.

That’s why VicHealth is working to tackle gender inequality and stereotypes and nurture respect, particularly among young people. These are significant contributors to family violence.

We aim to create healthy relationships that are free from emotional and physical violence in communities, organisations and families.

Bystanders, school teachers and principals, workplaces, local councils and politicians, community groups and sports clubs all have a vital role to play in eradicating violence. It’s up to the whole community to speak up and take action to create a world free from violence against women.

- Monica Kelly