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    Conduct a community readiness assessment

    Local governments can maximise the effectiveness of prevention of violence against women activities by collaborating with stakeholders to plan and deliver initiatives that are appropriate to the local community context.  

    Community readiness assessments can help a local government decide what types of initiatives might work best in their community. It can be as simple as undertaking a survey or running focus groups to understand people’s attitudes and knowledge of violence against women, to determine what activities are best for that level of knowledge (while acknowledging that different segments of the community have may different levels of knowledge and readiness). A community readiness assessment can also be adapted to assess internal local government readiness. 

    How to conduct an assessment

    An assessment involves identifying and defining your issue (in this case, violence against women), identifying your community demographics, preparing your readiness assessment (or survey/interview questions), implementing the assessment, analysing your findings and designing and implementing your activity or program.

    Step 1. Identify

    Clearly define your issue. In this case the toolkit has already defined the issue as violence against women.

    Step 2. Delineate and define your community

    Understand the demographics and diversity of the community. Identify groups who are most likely to experience  violence against women. For example, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and women with disability are known to be  much more likely to experience violence than are non-Indigenous women without disability.

    Step 3. Prepare

    Create questions according to the 5 dimensions of readiness:

    1. Knowledge of the issues
    2. Knowledge of the efforts
    3. Community leadership
    4. Community climate
    5. Resources

    Step 4. Select

    Choose your respondents from all sections of the community — health, education and childcare services (staff and clients), community groups, faith-based groups, sporting clubs, local businesses, police. Ensure representation of diverse groups and those most likely to experience violence. Include men and people who identify as gender diverse, as well as women.

    Step 5. Score

    Give each survey/interview question a readiness score (1–5). This should be allocated by the interviewer to the answers given in each of the 5 dimensions. The interviewer uses the score to calculate readiness.

    Step 6. Interview

    Conduct and transcribe the interviews. The interviewer should have the appropriate skills to respectfully and sensitively conduct the interviews, ensuring the process is culturally safe for all participants, especially Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. During the interview the respondent will scale their response (1–10).

    As violence against women is a sensitive issue,  the interviewer must consider certain safety and ethical concerns as follows: 

    • Stress that information gathered will be kept confidential 
    • Consider the safety (including cultural safety) of the people you interview 
    • Take precautions to ensure your own safety, e.g., if the interviews should be scheduled over the phone or in public places 
    • If needed, seek, debriefing sessions with supervisors or other members of your team 
    • Know how to respond to disclosures of violence and where to refer people for support. You can read more about knowing what to do when someone discloses, in Our Watch’s Prevention Handbook.

    Step 7. Calculate

    Calculate average scores and an overall score. The interviewer will report findings on readiness. Local governments can analyse this information and identify prevention initiatives that match community readiness — so you can move on to planning and implementing the initiative.


    Planning and evaluating prevention initiatives with the community

    Run a co-design process with your community

    Supported by the Australian Government Department of Social Services.