Starts With Us Framework

The Starts With Us Framework to prevent gendered violence

Legal and justice workplaces are required to make sure all workers are valued and treated as equals, regardless of gender.


This webpage is for organisations who want to prevent gendered violence in Victorian legal and justice workplaces


The Starts With Us Framework provides a guide and resources to plan and implement activities that will drive the cultural and systemic change needed to prevent gendered violence in legal and justice organisations.

Before you begin:

It is important to understand what gendered violence is, what causes it and how a prevention approach can help us to address this issue.


Gendered violence in the workplace

Gendered violence is a serious occupational health and safety issue in workplaces. It is any act that results in, or could result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts and coercion.


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What causes gendered violence?

The evidence is clear that gender inequality drives gendered violence. 


We know that while violence, discrimination, harassment and bullying can happen to anyone, women are disproportionately impacted. 


We also know these experiences are compounded by the impacts of other intersecting social inequalities, such as racism, ableism, colonialism, and discrimination based on sexuality, gender identity and socio-economic circumstances.


Extensive research shows that disrespect towards women, rigid gender stereotypes, and outdated social norms and attitudes that condone inequality and men’s violence drive gendered violence.

Everyone has the right to a safe workplace, free from discrimination and harassment, no matter their gender. Employers are obligated to prevent gendered violence at work.


We can stop gendered violence before it starts – by ridding workplaces of unfair and harmful attitudes and behaviours towards people based on gender. As well as making sure systems, procedures and practices are fair and equitable. 


Download the case for prevention of gendered violence

Our work with leaders across the sector has shown that it is essential for organisations to have the following in place to be ‘ready’ to begin work to prevent gendered violence:


1. Safety first: organisational policies and procedures to respond appropriately and safely manage disclosures of gendered violence (including sexual harassment and discrimination) and violence.


2. Leadership commitment: to enable, endorse and authorise prevention of gendered violence activity in the workplace. This leadership commitment needs to be sustained over time.


3. Resourcing: a team or working group with allocated time and budget to plan and deliver a plan of action. This working group must include a decision-maker, someone who is accountable to organisational leaders, and people with relevant experience.


Check your organisation’s readiness to get started

When law firms, courts, justice agencies and legal institutions are places where everyone is afforded the opportunity to thrive and do their best, our workplaces will have:


> Organisational cultures that reflect gender equitable behaviour, attitudes, and expectations, internally and in work with the community, with clients and with stakeholders.


> Systems, structures, and processes that support gender equality, fairness, and safety.


> Robust and effective reporting systems that ensure safety, compliance and consequences for perpetrators.


Download the case for preventing gendered violence.

Gendered violence and legal and justice workplaces

Victoria’s legal and justice sector employs about 32,000 people in Victoria and touches the lives of all Victorians.

Starts With Us research reports

Starts With Us resources to prevent gendered violence

The Starts With Us Framework

A guide to create gender equitable and safe legal and justice workplaces
Organisational Readiness Checklist
The case for prevention of gendered violence help prepare your organisation to take action
Survey Template to engage staff about gender equality in your workplace
Organisational Assessment Template
Action Library
Action Plan Template
Reporting on Success Template

This project was funded by the Victorian Government as part of the Free From Violence strategy . We thank our Steering Committee and Consortium Partners who continue to collaborate with us on this work.

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Our office is closed

We will reopen at 9am Monday 8 January 2024.


You can contact Victoria Legal Aid for legal support or Safe Steps for family violence support. 


Our duty lawyer services will continue during this period. Please contact your local court if you need legal help at court.


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