THE EQI DIRECTOR, DR EMMA FULU, PARTICIPATES IN THE 15TH WORLD CONGRESS ON PUBLIC HEALTH
At the beginning of April, Melbourne hosted the 15th World Congress on Public Health. Our Founder and Director, Dr Emma Fulu, participated as a panelist during a session about tackling alcohol-related domestic violence, and then as a speaker on the prevention of violence against women and their children.
UNHAPPY HOURS: TACKLING ALCOHOL-RELATED DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
During this session, Dr Fulu discussed the relationship between alcohol, masculinity and gender norms, and that while alcohol is often a risk factor for male perpetration of intimate partner violence (IPV), there are many other elements that need to be taken into consideration. For example, presenting data from the United Nations Multi-country Study on Men and Violence in Asia-Pacific, Dr Fulu revealed that men's likelihood of perpetrating intimate partner violence is increased by having gender inequitable attitudes, men's own experiences of violence as children, notions of sexual entitlement, controlling behaviour over women, as well as factors such as depression, lower levels of education and lower socio-economic status.
The session was attended by delegates from many different organisations in the public health sector, both nationally and internationally and a lively discussion explored the link between alcohol and cultural expectations, the challenges facing prevention, the effect of alcohol-related domestic violence on children, and how the availability of alcohol relates to the issue. The varied experiences and knowledge of the event participants meant that the discussion involved many different perspectives. However, the general consensus was that while stopping alcohol abuse alone will not end violence against women, a holistic approach to violence prevention should address the role of alcohol, particularly as a gendered phenomenon.
THE PREVENTION OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND THEIR CHILDREN
The next day, Dr Fulu was part of a plenary session where she discussed how to measure the social change necessary for preventing violence against women and their children. Specifically, she focused on evaluating violence prevention interventions and how short-, medium- and long-term change might be measured at the national level. Dr Fulu emphasised that ending violence against women is a long-term process, that needs to be addressed with a holistic and multi-sectoral approach, and that change will take time but that there are indicators that we can measure to ensure that we are on the right path. Importantly, Australia and other United Nations members need to focus on such an approach and commit to effective monitoring and evaluation of prevention programs if it is to meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.