In this section:

Sexual violence community awareness activities

Responsible government

  • Commonwealth

Fourth Action Plan actions

  • Respond to sexual violence and sexual harassment
    • 13 Prevent sexual violence and sexual harassment before it happens through national and targeted initiatives that promote informed consent, bodily autonomy and respectful relationships.
    • 15 Strengthen the capacity of all sectors to address sexual harassment to ensure women are safe at work, while studying, in public and online.

What are we doing?

Sexual violence can be a form of domestic and family violence and a standalone form of violence. Like domestic and family violence, more women experience sexual assault and sexual harassment than men. The 2016 Personal Safety Survey (PSS) found one in five Australian women has experienced sexual violence since the age of 15.

Despite recent changes to legislation there are still many barriers that make it difficult for women to report and access services. This includes women not being believed and as a result not trusting the criminal justice system.

The Commonwealth Government will invest $9.354 million between 2019–20 and 2021–22 in a separate program of work focused on preventing sexual violence.

The prevention activities will build on the broader prevention approaches under the National Plan and focus on raising awareness and understanding of issues such as gender equality, consent and healthy sexual relationships and victim blaming. They will address priority settings and cohorts identified in research conducted to date.

What have we achieved so far?

  • The Commonwealth Government commissioned research activities in the first quarter of 2020 to strengthen the evidence base in relation to sexual violence in Australia and to inform future sexual violence and sexual harassment prevention activities, including by identifying cohorts of greatest risk of sexual violence.
  • The Commonwealth has secured matched funding for this activity from the Australian Capital Territory, the Northern Territory, South Australia and Tasmania.
  • La Trobe University was engaged to identify effective primary prevention sexual violence and harassment interventions and analyse other forms of data to inform a Theory of Change and future research on the primary prevention of sexual violence and harassment. La Trobe University completed stakeholder consultations, a research report and Theory of Change framework in March 2021. The reports are available at Research – National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children (
  • Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu (‘Deloitte’) was engaged to undertake a stocktake of sexual violence primary prevention initiatives in Australia. Deloitte completed a report, a fact sheet and a dashboard to display information on the range of initiatives in July 2020. The reports are available at Research – National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children (

What is next?

  • The Commonwealth will continue to work with the remaining jurisdictions to secure matched funding.
  • Prevention activities, informed by the research and broader consultation, commenced in mid-2021. This package of sexual violence prevention activities is being delivered across Australia by Our Watch, White Ribbon Australia, Universities Australia, LGBTIQ+ Health Australia and the University of New South Wales.
  • Through this package, the government is providing:
    • $2.3 million for Our Watch to expand the Respect and Equality in TAFE initiative, currently funded by the Victorian Government. This expansion will employ, train and support Primary Prevention Officers to deliver local prevention activities at TAFE campuses across Australia.
    • $2.5 million for White Ribbon Australia to employ Primary Prevention Officers to implement activities in local communities across Australia to address gender inequality and prevent violence against women, including sexual violence.
    • $1.5 million for Universities Australia to develop a comprehensive package of sexual harassment and violence prevention materials to distribute to its member universities to target university students.
    • $158,000 for LGBTIQ+ Health Australia and University of New South Wales to co-design pilot primary prevention projects and develop evaluation toolkit for people with diverse sexual orientations and gender identities, or who are intersex.

What difference will we make?

  • The intended outcome of this program is to contribute to population-level behavioural change in areas driving sexual violence and sexual harassment and the responses required for it in Australia.
  • This project will also:
    • build the sexual violence evidence base, including synthesising existing research and data, identifying successful domestic and international responses and considering a range of primary prevention mechanisms to inform sexual violence prevention activities
    • draw on sector expertise and engagement around national sexual violence policy.

Last updated