‘Prevention and Early Intervention’ is one of the ten, key principles outlined in the DVNSW Good Practice Guidelines.  Although often grouped together, primary prevention and early intervention are, in fact, two separate approaches with different target groups.

‘Primary prevention’ refers to initiatives targeted at the whole population.  These are aimed at addressing the underlying drivers of DFV to prevent it from ever starting in the first place.

‘Early intervention’ (also known as ‘secondary prevention’) refers to initiatives that target individuals or groups at higher-than-average risk of either perpetrating or experiencing DFV.  Early intervention initiatives aim to stop DFV in at-risk populations.


‘Primary prevention’ refers to initiatives targeted at the whole population.  These are aimed at addressing the underlying drivers of DFV to prevent it from ever starting in the first place.

The following resources may help DFV services to implement primary prevention initiatives.

Our Watch, Change The Story

Change The Story is Australia’s national framework for the primary prevention of DFV against women and their children.  Every state and territory, as well as the Commonwealth Government, is a member of Our Watch and has signed on to this framework.

The aim of the framework is to provide a consistent understanding of the principles that should guide DFV primary prevention initiatives.  This enables organisations to develop effective primary prevention policies, strategies and programs built on these principles.

The evidence base that underpins the Change The Story framework indicates that DFV is driven by gender inequality.  The framework, therefore, prescribes that primary prevention initiatives must include actions that promote and normalise gender equality in public and private life.

Change The Story specifies that an effective primary prevention initiative must be designed to do one or more of the following:

  • Challenge the condoning of violence against women
  • Promote women’s independence and decision-making
  • Challenge gender stereotypes and roles
  • Strengthen positive, equal and respectful relationships.

While Change the Story identifies the gendered drivers of DFV, it does not consider how gender insects with other factors – such as, class, race, disability, sexuality and gender diversity – in shaping both the drivers of DFV and how DFV is experienced.  It is, therefore, necessary to go beyond the Change the Story framework to design and implement prevention activities appropriately tailored to the needs and experiences of specific community groups.  There are further resources below that were developed to support prevention activities with specific communities.  These include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities; culturally, linguistically and spiritually diverse communities; people with disability; and lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and gender diverse, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ+) communities.

Our Watch, Changing The Picture

Changing the Picture is a framework for the prevention of DFV against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and their children.   It presents a set of principles for organisations to undertake this prevention work in a way that is culturally safe and appropriate.  The framework identifies those actions that are most appropriately undertaken by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and organisations and those that should be the responsibility of non-Indigenous people and organisations, and of government.

Multicultural Women’s Health,Intersectionality Matters: A guide to engaging immigrant and refugee communities to prevent violence against women

This guide aims to help organisations to develop DFV prevention initiatives that are effective in including and engaging immigrant and refugee communities.  It outlines key elements for DFV prevention work with these communities, such as avoiding simplistic definitions of ‘culture’ and ensuring that the communities concerned have leadership and ownership at all stages of the work.

Women with Disabilities Victoria, Inclusive Planning Guidelines for the Prevention of Violence Against Women With Disabilities

These guidelines aim to resource violence prevention workers to work in partnership with disability and other community organisations to prevent DFV against women with disability.  They include six principles, based on a literature review and extensive consultation, which were formulated to be inclusive, practical and evidence-based.

Rainbow Health Victoria, Pride in Prevention: A guide to primary prevention of family violence experienced by LGBTIQ communities

This guide was developed to inform primary prevention work aimed at preventing DFV in LGBTIQ+ communities.  It proposes a model for understanding the drivers of DFV in these communities.  It also makes recommendations for the design and delivery of prevention activities for LGBTIQ+ communities.

NSW Health, NSW Domestic and Family Violence Prevention and Early Intervention Strategy 2017 – 2021

This is the NSW Government’s current DFV primary prevention and early intervention strategy.  It aims to inform the way not only government agencies but also non-government organisations and communities design and deliver primary prevention and early intervention activities.  It is useful in showing NSW Government focus areas.


The Victorian Government funds DFV primary prevention and early intervention activities to a far greater level than the level of funding available in NSW (in NSW, funding is largely concentrated on responding to DFV after it occurs, rather than on primary prevention and early intervention initiatives).  For this reason, there are many, useful prevention resources coming out of Victoria.  Useful Victorian web resources include:

Gender Equity Victoria

Gender Equity Victoria is Victoria’s peak body for gender equity, women’s health and the prevention of violence against women.  Its webpage features many useful practice resources for gender equity and DFV prevention work.

Action to Prevent Violence Against Women  

This is a resource hub established by Gender Equity Victoria to house resources specifically related to DFV prevention activities.

Respect Victoria

Respect Victoria is an independent, statutory authority in Victoria dedicated to the primary prevention of DFV.  Its webpage includes the latest research and data on DFV primary prevention to promote evidence-informed primary prevention activities.

Women’s Health Victoria

Women’s Health Victoria has a number of areas of focus, one of which is the prevention of violence against women.  This webpage outlines its work in DFV prevention and includes links to relevant publications and resources.

Partners in Prevention

Partners in Prevention supports prevention practitioners to hone their practice skills and strengthen their knowledge of the evidence base.  Its webpage hosts a useful suite of resources related to respectful relationships education.  It also features recordings of webinars related to DFV primary prevention.

Free From Violence: Victoria’s Strategy to Prevent Family Violence

Free From Violence is the Victorian Government’s strategy to prevent DFV and all forms of violence against women.  It is a comprehensive strategy that was put into place following the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence, which concluded in 2015.

Preventing Family Violence and Violence Against Women Capability Framework

This capability framework outlines the foundational skill sets the Victorian Government considers that practitioners require to deliver prevention of violence against women initiatives.


If your organisation would like support in developing and implementing primary prevention activities, you may like to join the NSW Collaboration for the Primary Prevention of Gender-Based Violence.  This brings together DFV services, peak bodies, local councils, academics and the NSW Government to promote collaboration in primary prevention.  To join the group, email projects@dvnsw.org.au.