Evaluating the role of local government in preventing violence against women

Evaluating the role of local government in preventing violence against women


The Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) is the peak body representing and supporting Victoria’s 79 councils through advocacy, capacity building, and policy advice.

Nous’ evaluation identified ways to strengthen the role of local government in preventing violence against women

Victoria is committed to ending violence against women. As the level of government closest to the community, local government has an important role to play in promoting gender equality and preventing violence against women (PVAW). Nous worked with MAV to evaluate the local government’s role and MAV’s supporting role in PVAW in order to identify untapped opportunities.

An illuminative evaluation led to a comprehensive understanding told through the PVAW community

Nous conducted an illuminative evaluation that explored the role of councils in gender equality and PVAW through the themes of leadership, spaces, capability, and resources.  Our approach consisted of:

  1. Uncovering insights through an exploratory workshop and interviews to identify and explore a key themes: we consulted with local government officers and leaders of metropolitan and rural councils, collaborators, and thought leaders to explore their current PVAW programs, successes, barriers and opportunities.
  1. Broadening insights through survey analysis: we analysed the local government annual PVAW survey data for a comprehensive understanding of the status and changes in local government’s PVAW work over time.
  1. Synthesising insights into a story told through local government’s images and voices: we synthesised the findings into a comprehensive story and robust recommendations, supported by council’s contributed images and interview quotes.

Our evaluation helped to increase awareness of the MAV’s work in gender equality and PVAW

MAV released the evaluation along with its 2017 Prevention of Violence Against Women Booklet at the Local Government PVAW Showcase in August 2017 and promoted both reports widely; including through a website; an evaluation summary report sent to all Victorian mayors; and a letter sent to all mayors across Australia. This resulted in a substantial increase in the number of unique visits to MAV’s Gender Equality page.

The summary and full reports are available at the MAV Gender Equality website here, under the section ‘Evaluation of the role of local government in preventing violence against women’.

What other organisations can learn

  • For deeper insights, consider an illuminative evaluation when the objective is ‘discover and discern’ rather than ‘measure and predict’.
  • Source individuals’ images to provide a richer understanding for the reader, and honour your stakeholders’ experiences.
  • Share your findings widely for broader impact and return.