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Date and time: Wednesday 15 April 2015, from 5:30 to 7:00 pm
Presenter: Dr Wei Leng Kwok
Venue: VicHealth Seminar Room, Ground Floor, 15-31 Pelham Street, Carlton South
Registration Online by: 10 April 2015

Event Description: In Victoria, and elsewhere in Australia and the world, violence against women is a problem of great magnitude with serious physical, psychological and emotional consequences to those experiencing it. Current estimates are that one in three Australian women have experienced physical violence since the age of 15. And one in five have experienced sexual violence since the age of 15. Most violence against women is perpetrated by men who are known to them: a current or former intimate partner. For Victorian women aged 15–44 years, intimate partner violence has been found to be the leading contributor to death, disability and illness, outstripping other known contributors. In 2009, the estimated annual cost of violence against women to the Victorian economy was around $3.4 billion.

Over the last few years, ground-breaking efforts have been made in Victoria to turn the tide of violence against women by taking steps to prevent such violence before it occurs, also known as primary prevention. Primary prevention works by tackling the underlying causes of the problem so it can't happen in the first place. These causes are gender inequality and gender roles/norms that grant unequal access to power and resources between women and men. Central to efforts in this area has been a research- and evidence-informed framework for action, Preventing Violence before it Occurs: A framework and background paper to guide the primary prevention of violence against women in Victoria, published by the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation (VicHealth) in 2007.

This seminar will give participants an opportunity to hear about VicHealth's framework for action and the Victorian initiatives supported by it, particularly through VicHealth's 'Respect, Responsibility and Equality' program. The seminar will also provide participants with an opportunity to hear about an evaluation approach that was developed as an integral part of VicHealth's programming. Participants will be given a first-hand account of this approach, which had practitioner utility in mind, was deeply participatory in its execution, centred on evaluation capacity building strategies that catered to the learning needs of stakeholders, and was aligned with the processes and goals of primary prevention. The seminar will provide copies of, or links to, various resources arising from VicHealth's programming, and there will be plenty of opportunity to discuss the primary prevention initiatives and the evaluation approach that accompanied them.

This seminar is for those who want to hear more about preventing violence against women initiatives and/or participatory and learning-oriented evaluation.

Dr Wei Leng Kwok is an experienced social researcher who works in the community and health sectors and has run her own consultancy business, WLK Consulting, since 2007. Wei Leng is also the Research Practice Leader for Preventing Violence against Women at VicHealth, a role she has held since 2010. It is in this role that she developed and refined the participatory and learning-oriented approach to evaluating Victorian primary prevention initiatives that will be the focus of the seminar.