Welcome to part two of our October 2018 Inspirational Interview with Merrindahl Andrew, program manager of the Australian Women Against Violence Alliance. She has worked as a researcher, editor, policy advocate and women’s rights activist. Dr. Andrew has completed a PhD in politics and has published articles and book chapters on social movements and feminism. She is also a writer of short fiction and poetry, and the creator of Hearts In Causes, a social art project about the untidy and confusing parts of life as an activist or campaigner.

In this part of the interview, Dr. Andrew discusses ways men and boys can help end violence against women and how AWAVA is making changes in Australia.

Part 1 of Dr. Andrew’s interview was published on Sunday September 30 2018.

All pictures courtesy of Australian Women Against Violence Alliance.


awava-merrindahl-and-tina-drawing-survey-prizes6. Over the years, what sort of impact has AWAVA had on Australia’s approach and attitudes towards domestic violence?

It is difficult to measure impact overall, but we are sure that we have contributed to the higher profile of VAW as an issue for public policy, and to the recognition (at last) that it is fundamentally a gendered issue. More specifically, we have maintained awareness among policy makers about the role of specialist women’s services, even if that role is still being undermined by some of the funding decisions being made. AWAVA and its members have steadfastly mobilised a feminist and human-rights-centred approach to VAW, and we can see this approach now being echoed to some extent within government policy.


7. How do you think men and boys can help to end violence against women?

We recently published a pamphlet, “Steps you can take to help end violence against women.” These are some important things that men and boys (and people generally) can do to help end VAW:

1. Seek help from police/emergency services if you or another person are in immediate danger, and reach out for support if you need it. (In Australia, you can call police by phoning 000, or if you want counselling support or referral contact 1800RESPECT or phone 1-800-737-732.)
2. Stay informed and educate yourself.
3. Use empowering language.
4. Respond to someone disclosing violence appropriately.
5. Ethical representation of victim/survivors
6. Speak up (challenge practices that condone violence against women).
7. Be limitless (promote and normalise gender equality in public and private life).
8. Donate and fundraise.
9. Advocate for systemic change.
10. Don’t forget to care about yourself.


8. Tell us about AWAVA’s plans for the future. What campaigns, programmes, or projects do you have coming up in the next 5 years?

Over the next few years, we will be focusing on the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children – due to finish in 2022 – especially working towards incorporating a diversity lens in national policy-making on VAW and raising the profile of other forms of VAW beyond domestic and family violence, including sexual violence and violence against women with disabilities in care and institutional settings.

We will also be working on improving access to justice and accountability, promoting better service provision for women’s safety and recovery, primary prevention, and international engagement.

We are working to make our policy advocacy more accessible and to share information with our supporters in a way that encourages and enables them to contribute both to our work and to anti-VAW initiatives generally. For example, we are planning to make more short videos, such as this one explaining how the 2018-19 national government budget addresses VAW.


9. How can The Pixel Project’s supporters engage with and support the efforts of AWAVA to stop violence against women?

We would love to have The Pixel Project’s supporters engage with our work!

As well as following us on Facebook and Twitter, people can:


10. In your considered opinion, how can we end violence against women for good?

We are doing it; we just need to do more of it! And we need to make sure we continue to be guided by strong feminist, human rights, and diversity-inclusive principles.