Our Watch turns five, makes real difference on family violence: new study

An independent evaluation of Our Watch, an initiative to stop violence against women and children and change cultures and behaviours nationally, has found it’s making a real difference five years since it was formed.

The group, which was started in 2013, works with parties including policymakers, educators and sporting organisations, seeks to stop violence before it starts because on average one woman is murdered every week by a current or former partner.

Its public campaigns have included ‘Change the Story’ and The Line, and supporting respectful relationships education in schools and universities.

The Our Watch, Our Journey assessment by PricewaterhouseCoopers Australia says the group is well-respected and trusted and is changing attitudes.

“There has been overwhelming consensus from the consultation process that one of the key primary contributions of Our Watch to changing attitudes, behaviours and norms is the development of an Australian evidence base,” the report says.

“In particular, the development of Change the Story in partnership with ANROWS (Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety) and the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation has made an enormous impact.

“Without development of an Australian evidence base, stakeholders speculated that there would have been dispersed focus of primary prevention programs and many more that were found to not be effective.”

Our Watch began as the Foundation to Prevent Violence Against Women in Children in 2013, and changed its name a year later. It started with five full-time equivalent employees and now has more than 35.

“We build and support a collaborative effort between organisations, governments and individuals across Australia for an impact that is greater than the sum of its parts,” Our Watch CEO, Patty Kinnersly, says.

If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, family or domestic violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000.