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Unpacking violence: a storytelling resource for understanding non-physical forms of abuse and the gendered drivers of violence against women

Violence against women Violence prevention Public health General practice Family violence Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) Primary prevention Australia
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Unpacking violence (guide) 808.27 KB

Research shows that one in four women in Australia has experienced at least one incident of non-physical abuse from a partner. However, half of Australians find it difficult to recognise non-physical forms of abuse between partners.  

Our Watch have produced this multi-purpose practitioner resource, as part of the No Excuse for Abuse campaign, funded by the Australian Government’s Department of Social Services. 

The resource aims to support prevention practitioners in their work to increase understanding that all forms of abuse are serious. It includes seven narrative stories as well as guidance notes assisting practitioners in undertaking prevention activities.

Personal stories are a powerful primary prevention tool. They can bring a human face to public health issues and build empathy, understanding and connection. They can also help link individual experiences to the broader social context, for instance by highlighting the common patterns of power and control that appear across each individual experience of abuse. Stories can also allow us to show the complex interplay of multiple forms of non-physical abuse and the impact this can have for women and children. Stories can also be experiential – they help people to better understand the experiences of others, particularly if they have no similar personal experience. 

As primary prevention tools, narrative stories can challenge myths, highlight gendered norms, practices and structures, and engage with the gendered drivers and essential actions. They can also seek to role model and foster intersectional thinking.  


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