Creating gender equity is a key driver of the generational change needed to prevent domestic and family violence.
Women's Health Goulburn North East's Naomi Bailey said there was a need to build cultures "that will not tolerate this kind of behaviour".
"That's how we stop it before it starts."
Ms Bailey, who works in a specialist role focusing on improving leadership in order to effect gender equity, said this was critical.
"Prevention is acting on all of the drivers that downstream result in violence against women and family violence," she said.
Ms Bailey said one of Women's Health's challenges was that it worked across "a really broad spectrum" of individual issues.
- Emergency: 000
- DV Hotline: 1800 656 463
- Safe Steps: 1800 015 188
- Betty's Place Women's Refuge: 02 6058 6200 or 1900 885 355
- DV counselling: 1800 737 732
- Kids' Helpine: 1800 789 978
- MensLine: 1300 789 978
But all of that work was aligned under the approach of prevention, for which the evidence had been strengthened greatly in the past five to 10 years.
Much of that came out of the National Research Organisation for Women's Safety research program.
There had also been significant VicHealth research from the early 2000s.
The latter, Ms Bailey said, was a study that focused on the burden of disease.
"It was a world-first and it demonstrated that violence is the biggest burden of disease for women under 45," she said.
"It's a bigger burden of disease than heart disease, it's a bigger burden of disease than smoking, it's just having these massive impacts."
On the ground, the Wangaratta-based organisation had been working, Ms Bailey said, to create "communities that are safe and strong, communities that are respectful, communities that understand what gendered violence and what the drivers of that gendered violence are".
One way it is doing that is through its work right across the region in "capacity-building" leaders.
"It's to build their understanding of what gender equity actually is, to build their understanding of what our region's leadership rates by gender are."
Ms Bailey said one chief executive had found the program transforming.
"He now makes sure that he picks up his children half of the time," she said.
"He's modelling how flexible work hours and family-friendly work hours include both women and men in their application and their implementation."
Organisations had been overwhelmingly positive, though not all of the time.
"Of course we get backlash, it's part of this work," she said.
"That's because it is speaking about power and control.
"And it's asking people to look at privilege.
"It goes to the heart of some people's sense of how the world should be."
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