Swinburne students use design to help prevent violence against women

Wednesday 20 November 2019

Swinburne Pathways and Vocational Education (PAVE) students came up with creative and innovative ways to empower people to help prevent violence against women.

In summary

  • Swinburne students are using human-centred design to empower positive bystander action in the prevention of family violence and violence against women
  • Pathways and Vocational Education (PAVE) students took part in a design sprint facilitated by Design Factory Melbourne, based at Swinburne
  • The initiative is part of the Victorian government’s Family Violence Prevention in Tertiary Settings Pilot Project

Swinburne students are leading the way in the prevention of family violence and violence against women in universities and TAFE institutions by empowering positive bystander action.

Bystanders are people who witness violent behaviour, discrimination or sexism, but aren’t directly involved.

Fifteen Swinburne Pathways and Vocational Education (PAVE) students took part in a design sprint, facilitated by the Design Factory Melbourne, to use human-centred design to tackle an issue related to bystander action and work towards preventing violence.

Students from a range of disciplines – business, graphic design and game development – contributed ideas, including apps to request a ‘buddy’ if a person feels unsafe, and socks with messages encouraging people to ‘step in’ and safely intervene in situations.

Digital and Interactive Games student, Rachel, says: “I think a lot of people from here might change and take a step forward because of this experience.”

The ideas will help inform bystander initiatives at Swinburne in 2020.

Family Violence Prevention Executive Officer, Robbie van Dijk, says the students unpacked complex and nuanced issues in a creative way.

“The ideas and solutions these students came up with over two days show real promise and we hope to be able to take some of them through to implementation,” he says.

“We all have a role to play in challenging the norms, structures, behaviours and attitudes that contribute to family violence and violence against women, and it was incredible to see the passion and commitment of this diverse group of students.”


Family Violence Prevention in Tertiary Settings Pilot Project

The design sprint is part of Swinburne’s involvement in the Victorian government-funded Family Violence Prevention in Tertiary Settings Pilot Project.

The pilot project, in partnership with Chisholm Institute and Melbourne Polytechnic, aims to develop, trial and scale promising primary prevention practice in the prevention of family violence and violence against women.

Other student-led projects in 2019 included creating two television commercial campaigns, a new brand for prevention work and a website, which will be shared in early 2020 along with more information about Swinburne’s strategy to prevent family violence.

For more information about the family violence prevention project at Swinburne, contact Family Violence Prevention Officer Robbie van Dijk: rvandijk@swin.edu.au

If you or anyone you know needs support or advice about family violence, you can call the national sexual assault and domestic and family violence counselling service on 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732).