The ALL Come Out to Play! program has been funded under the Victorian Free from Violence strategy. It is part of a suite of primary prevention initiatives delivered in response to growing awareness that gender inequality, including stereotyped constructions of masculinity and femininity, is a key driver of violence against women. Research shows that violence can be prevented: it’s a matter of changing the unequal power relations and cultural norms that cause men to perpetrate violence against women in the first place, and the social structures that excuse it. The factors associated with higher levels of violence against women include the everyday beliefs and values that are prevalent in Australian society.
The program is a collaboration between drummond street services and Playgroup Victoria and is targeted at playgroups and early years’ classrooms throughout Victoria. The Playgroup session is fully-scripted and presented within a 50-minute slot, with musical games and activities designed by well-known local musician from Hullaballoo Music, Amanda Testro. In addition to running the playgroup sessions, program staff are also delivering one-off training sessions to at least 300 professionals (e.g. teachers and other community group facilitators) to build awareness about primary prevention of violence in their local areas.
With the understanding that children learn first through their parents, this program aims to shift attitudes and cultural norms during the early years of parenting, and aims to challenge rigid gender roles and stereotypes. The program was designed to support local community partnerships to coordinate and drive family violence prevention activities, and reflects ongoing investment and effort in Victoria to end family violence and other forms of violence against women.
In response to sector expectations regarding performance and outcomes measurements, CFRE has been contracted to provide a written evaluation of the ALL Come Out to Play! program. CFRE will use existing program documentation and the evaluation survey data collected from parents/carers and early childhood educators. This evaluation project is still in progress, as we continue to monitor the impact of this innovative service.