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Program planning

5 minutes

Planning for prevention is a continuous cycle that doesn’t have a clear start and finish point. You need to keep checking back and forward that the work you set out to do is happening, that the people and organisations that need to be involved are involved, and that there are no harmful consequences of the work. 

The stages of the planning cycle are: understand, explore, plan, implement, evaluate and learn. 

A flow chart showing the prevention planning cycle in a grey circle with a grey tab and icon for each stage in the process.
The prevention planning cycle


The first stage is to understand violence against women and the actions that are required to prevent it. To check that you are ready to undertake prevention work you should also be familiar with: 


Using your knowledge and understanding of violence against women and ways to prevent it, you can begin to explore what your prevention activity will do and who you will be working with. 

Consider your setting/s

This may be an easy step as you may already know the setting or settings you will be working in.

Thinking about where people live, work, learn, socialise and play will assist you to tailor the work to the population group and the environment. When exploring potential settings, think about the level of need and readiness in each. 

Once you have decided on a setting/s, it is useful to spend some time considering:

  • accessing any relevant data about violence against women and gender inequality in your setting 
  • consulting widely within your setting 
  • ensure you have consulted in a meaningful way with women and men who may face additional discrimination 
  • understanding the existing strengths within the setting and consider how these strengths can be drawn upon in your prevention work 
  • considering the prevention initiatives that have been implemented in your setting/s in the past. 

Undertake a gender analysis

A gender analysis is a process of considering gender and gender inequalities.

A gender analysis is a vital step in understanding how gender norms, practices and structures work in your setting. It assists in identifying key groups or individuals to include in the work, identifying priority areas for actions and identifying barriers to achieving your goals.

For example, if prevention work does not adequately consider gendered experiences and impacts or is not inclusive and accessible, then your work is unlikely to achieve its objectives. 

Identify stakeholders

Every prevention strategy will have different stakeholders that need to be engaged in different ways. You need to identify the key stakeholders who will influence or be impacted by your prevention strategy, remembering that every sector, institution, organisation, community and individual can play a role in preventing violence against women. Key stakeholders can include: 

  • those impacted directly by your work 
  • your staff 
  • your clients, customers or members 
  • relevant referral and support services 
  • other organisations or settings that are undertaking prevention work in your community 
  • members of groups who are often marginalised or excluded from whole of population approaches 
  • community leaders 
  • local, state and federal government
  • funding bodies.


When you have a comprehensive understanding of the prevention of violence against women, have decided what setting you will be working in and have identified your key stakeholders, it is time to begin to plan your activities in detail. The planning stage includes the following key elements. 

Establish partnership and governance structures

Setting up clear governance and partnership structures for your prevention initiative is important to the effectiveness of the partnership and to your overall initiative. Effective and successful partnerships: 

  • have a clear purpose and structure 
  • are mutually beneficial to the partners 
  • are carefully planned and monitored under a governance structure agreed to by all partners 
  • build flexibility, adaptability and accountability into the relationship from the beginning. 

A good way to formalise these structures is through a Terms of Reference or Memorandum of Understanding that is agreed to by all the partners. 

Choose your prevention techniques

It is important to select the techniques that are most suitable for your setting/s and target audience to address the essential prevention actions you’ve identified.

You also need to ensure the techniques you select are achievable with the time and resources you have available. Learn more about each of the techniques: 

Develop an implementation plan

The implementation plan will be based on your logic model and translates it into an actionable plan. It sets out the inputs, activities and expected outputs in a timeframe as well as identifying resources required and who is responsible for different activities. 

Other considerations

You should also: 


When you have a researched and planned approach, it’s time to put your strategy into action.

Throughout the implementation of your strategy, you should refer back to your logic model and your implementation plan, and be realistic about timeframes for implementation. 


Evaluation is crucial for effective and sustainable prevention work to learn about what works and what doesn’t work, and to examine and prevent unintended consequences. Evaluation provides solid information to share with others and to help build a prevention sector. 


Throughout the planning and implementation of a strategy it is important to reflect on what you have learnt and use that to revise and reshape the strategy where necessary. This is known as an ‘action learning’ approach. Action learning uses critical reflection to affirm positives as well as identifying areas for development or change. 

You should also think about sharing your learning. Sharing information and learning with others is central to building effective prevention work across Australia.

Communicating the outcomes from your work is also important for transparency and accountability. As you collect information on your strategy through your evaluation as well as through your practice experiences, think about the best way to share this information with other practitioners and your key stakeholders. 

Tools to help you plan your program