Part A: Gender Equality for Women - Program Guidelines


These guidelines provide the framework for the implementation and administration of the Gender Equality for Women Program.

The Australian Government Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA or the Department) has a suite of documents (the Program Guideline Suite) which provide information relating to the program. They provide the key starting point for parties considering whether to participate in the program and form the basis for the business relationship between FaHCSIA and the funding recipient.

They are:

  • Part A: Program Guidelines provides an overview of Program and the Activities relating to the program;
  • Part B: Information for Applicants which provides information on the Application, Assessment, Eligibility, Selection and Complaints processes; Financial and Funding Agreement arrangements.
  • Part C: Application Information provides specific information on the Activity, Selection Criteria, Performance Management and Reporting. This part should be read in conjunction with the Draft Funding Agreement for the Activity and the Standard Terms and Conditions.
  • The Application Form which is completed by applicants applying for funding during a selection process.

FaHCSIA reserves the right to amend these documents from time to time by whatever means it may determine in its absolute discretion and will provide reasonable notice of these amendments.

Table of Contents

Information about the Gender Equality for Women Program

Program Overview

The Gender Equality for Women Program provides informed government decisions aimed at improving gender equality through coordinated whole-of-government advice and support for women’s economic security, safety and leadership.

The Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) provides leadership in Australian Government policy and program management on issues affecting women and gender equality, Indigenous family and community safety and the delivery of women's safety initiatives. FaHCSIA provides coordinated government advice and support to the Minister for the Status of Women.

FaHCSIA is responsible for undertaking a range of strategies to improve women’s economic outcomes, ensuring women’s equal place in society, improving whole of government work on gender equality and providing support to eligible victims of human trafficking, slavery and slavery-like practices including forced labour and forced marriage; and has primary responsibility for Australia’s involvement in high level international forums concerned with improving gender equality and the status of women.

FaHCSIA also has responsibility for implementing a range of initiatives to achieve the outcome of reducing violence against women, particularly in taking forward the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022 (the National Plan), in partnership with state and territory governments.

Program Outcomes

To implement strategies in priority areas to achieve gender equality for women. These priority areas include:

  • reducing violence against women;
  • demonstrating Australian Government leadership on gender equality;
  • increasing opportunities for women to contribute to Australian Government decisions;
  • increasing opportunities for women to undertake valued leadership roles; and
  • creating business and workplace cultures that deliver better economic choices and outcomes for women.

Aims and objectives

FaHCSIA’s Outcome 6: Women aims to improve gender equality through coordinated whole-of-government advice and support for women’s economic security, safety and status.

The Gender for Equality for Women Program aims to implement strategies in priority areas to achieve gender equality.  The priority areas include reducing violence against women, demonstrating Australian Government leadership on gender equality, increasing opportunities for women to contribute to Australian Government decisions, increasing opportunities for women to undertake valued leadership roles and creating business and workplace cultures that deliver better economic choices and outcomes for women.

Responsibilities and accountabilities under the program

FaHCSIA responsibilities and accountabilities

Under this program FaHCSIA, through the program delegate, is responsible for:

  • Identifying suitable provider(s) to deliver the activity(ies);
  • Providing clear and concise advice to the provider in relation to the program;
  • Working in partnership with the provider to ensure the program is implemented;
  • Providing support and assistance to the provider and contributing to the provision of effective, efficient, quality services to the community where relevant to the funded activity;
  • Providing constructive feedback to the provider;
  • Providing the provider with a clear and concise funding agreement and ensuring the provider is accountable to Government in the terms agreed in the Funding Agreement;
  • Administering the operation of the program in a timely, accountable and efficient manner;
  • Ensuring that the outcomes contained within the program guidelines are being met; and
  • Evaluating the provider’s performance against program outcomes.

Provider responsibilities and accountabilities

Under this program the provider will be responsible for the following:

  • Adhering to the Terms and Conditions of the Funding Agreement;
  • Providing quality services which are effective, efficient, and appropriately targeted where relevant to the funded activity;
  • Working collaboratively to deliver the program;
  • Contributing to the overall development and improvement of the program such as sharing best practice and participating in Action Learning;
  • Ensuring Indigenous Australians have equal and equitable access to services or to participate in the funded activity;
  • Complying with all relevant legislation;
  • Meeting the obligations and accountabilities as stated in the Funding Agreement between FaHCSIA and the provider;
  • Providing a complaints handling mechanism; and
  • Conducting the service consistent with any Code of Conduct that may apply within the program.

Role of the Minister

The Minister for Status of Women has overall responsibility for this Program. The final decision about specific activities and, where relevant, locations, sites and proposals will be made by the Minister on advice provided by FaHCSIA.

Risk management strategy

The provider(s) will be subject to a financial viability check and risk management assessment prior to negotiating a Funding Agreement with FAHCSIA. These assessments will be the basis for the negotiation and monitoring of the funding agreement, including special conditions which may be necessary to manage the assessed risk to the Government.  Monitoring of service delivery will focus on addressing areas of risk that have the most impact on the Program outcome.

As part of the overall risk management strategy for the Program, FaHCSIA requires the provider to:

  • Identify and document risks in delivering services related to the program and funded activity;
  • Identify and document risk control strategies; and
  • Implement adequate and effective policies and procedures to manage risks and achieve the control strategies through the funding period.

As part of FaHCSIA’s Common Business Model, funding agreements are managed according to a risk management approach. Funding recipients are assessed to identify low, moderate, high and extreme risks with appropriate treatments identified. Risks are assessed in regard to governance, financial management, viability, performance management and issues management. 

Financial Reporting

All activities under the Gender Equality for Women Program will be managed to ensure the efficient and effective use of public monies.  This will be consistent with best value in social services principles and the FaHCSIA Funding Agreement(s).  Providers must only use funding for the purpose for which it was provided and act to prevent fraud upon the Commonwealth.


Providers will be required to provide information through regular reporting milestones outlined in the Funding Agreement. Providers will be notified if they will be required to provide information either through their regular reporting arrangements or specifically for an evaluation.  Clearinghouses may also be required to survey key stakeholders and report satisfaction levels to FaHCSIA.

FaHCSIA may undertake or commission a review or evaluation of the program/activities. FaHCSIA will give reasonable notification to the provider of any review or evaluation that may take place. Evaluation strategies will incorporate assessment of improved access and outcomes for Indigenous people.

Program Performance Framework and Reporting

Performance management and evaluation

FaHCSIA will assess the performance of the program and how it may be evaluated in accordance with the Funding Agreement.

Performance framework and reporting

FaHCSIA focuses on outcomes.  Other information, related to outputs or activities of the provider may also be required to allow FaHCSIA to:

  • Monitor the ongoing operation of the program for evaluation of services; and
  • Track issues that may affect the operation of the program.

FaHCSIA’s Performance Indicators focus on three key questions:

  • Did it make a difference?
  • How well did we do it?
  • How much did we do?

Program Key Performance Indicators

  • Percentage and number of women representatives on Australian Government boards
  • Assessment by stakeholders of the contribution of the Office for Women to national debates affecting gender equality
  • Percentage and number of women contacting the national online and 1800 service

Program Deliverables

  • Number of individuals contacting Helpline programs

Information about the components and activities

Program Components

Activities under Gender Equality for Women

In 2012-13, total administered program funding for Gender Equality for Women is $26.126 million, for 2013-14 $31.575 million, 2014-15 $29.523 million, 2015-16 $30.123 million and for 2016-17 $30.741 million.

The funding is implemented across the following strategies:

  • Women’s Safety Agenda
  • Women’s Leadership and Development Strategy
  • Support for Trafficked People Program


Women’s Safety Agenda
Grants Activities

  • Respectful Relationships
    Respectful Relationships is a primary prevention strategy that seeks to prevent sexual assault and domestic and family violence through education. Respectful Relationships projects work with young people to raise their awareness of ethical behaviour; to develop protective behaviours; and to develop their skills in conducting respectful relationships.  The Australian Government has committed funding over five years from 2008-09 to 2012-13. 
  • Community Action Grants
    The Australian Government has committed funding over three years from 2011-12 for Community Action Grants to support local communities in reducing violence against women.  The grants are part of the National Plan. The grants will be administered in two streams; Community Action Grants Stream 1 - Community Projects and Community Action Grants Stream 2 - Sporting Codes.
  • 1800 RESPECT
    The Australian Government has established a national telephone and online counselling service for victims of domestic and family violence and sexual assault.  The service is also available to assist others who are supporting victims, including families, friends and workers in the community. Further, the service is working towards integrating its activities with similar state, territory and non-government counselling services.  In addition the Australian Government has committed funds from 2011-12 to expand the 1800RESPECT counselling service to provide support to Frontline Workers who become aware of domestic and family violence and sexual assault or the risk of such violence and assault. The additional funds will also be used to develop national standards for telephone counselling services. 
  • Projects to promote the reduction of violence against women
    The Australian Government provides funds for projects reflecting emerging priorities or issues to support the aim of reducing violence against women.  These can include support for other service providers, promoting awareness and action in the wider community including business and workplaces, research or evidence building.  These are often ad hoc activities assessed on the basis of value for money and the extent to which the activity would contribute to the overall aims of the program.  Current projects include:
    • A project to provide training for allied health professionals to enable better understanding and identifying domestic and family violence and to improve skills around referral and support; and
    • Support for the White Ribbon Foundation to develop the White Ribbon Workplaces project as part of their business and industry engagement strategy.

Other Activities

  • National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women 2010-2022 (the National Plan)
    The National Plan  was endorsed by Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments on 15 February 2011. The National Plan is a single unified strategy that brings together government efforts to reduce violence against women. The National Plan is the first of its kind to focus so strongly on prevention, including building respectful relationships amongst young people and working to increase gender equality to stop violence from occurring in the first place.

    In August 2010, with the release of the draft National Plan, the Commonwealth Government committed to fund a range of activities, including the Community Action Grants and expansion of 1800 Respect.  Other activities include:
    • improved services for victims of domestic violence through a series of reform projects to increase the evidence base and knowledge;
    • a reward/incentive payment to States and Territories to promote best practice perpetrator interventions;
    • the Personal Safety Survey and National Community Attitudes Survey;
    • development of a code of practice for the media when reporting sexual assault and domestic violence; and
    • additional activities may be developed as the National Plan is implemented by the Government.
  • The Line Social Marketing Campaign
    The Line campaign is a four year social marketing campaign targeting youth and their influences.  The campaign is aimed at changing violence-supportive attitudes in an effort to effectively reduce the incidence and impact of violence in Australia.  The campaign’s aims reflect the main outcomes and actions that exist under the National Plan. 
  • Building the Evidence Base
    A priority under the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children is to build a strong and lasting evidence base.  Activities under this include:
    • the National Centre of Excellence for research into sexual assault and family and domestic violence;
    • survey’s including the Personal Safety Survey (managed by the ABS) and the National Community Attitudes Survey (managed by VicHealth) which are run on four yearly cycles;
    • National Data and Reporting Framework;
    • clearinghouses including the Australian Centre for the Study of Sexual Assault (ACSSA) at the Australian Institute of Family Studies and the Australian Domestic and Family Violence Clearinghouse (ADFVC) at the University of New South Wales;
    • research into perpetrators and perpetrator interventions; and
    • ad hoc research and project grants which contribute to building the evidence base.
  • Governance arrangements under the National Plan
    The National Plan requires Commonwealth, state and territory governments and the non-government sector to work together in new ways. The National Plan Implementation Panel (NPIP) brings together government and non-government members to provide advice to Senior Officials and Ministers on the implementation of the National Plan. The need for further  governance and engagement mechanisms, such as the establishment of Advisory Groups, is also likely to arise in the implementation of the National Plan across its 12-year life span.

Women’s Leadership and Development Strategy
Grants Activities

  • National Women’s Alliances
    The Australian Government has committed to provide ongoing core funding for six National Women's Alliances over another three years from 2013-14 to 2016.  The role of the Alliances is to bring together women's organisations and individuals from across Australia to share information, identify issues that affect them, and identify solutions; and engage actively with the Government on policy issues as part of a more informed and representative dialogue between the broadest possible cross-section of women and government. The Government also provides the Alliances with access to additional funding to support them to respond to emerging issues relating to women and gender equality.
  • Sports Leadership Grants and Scholarships for Women
    The Sports Leadership Grants and Scholarships for Women Program is a joint initiative between the Australian Sports Commission and the Office for Women.  The Program provides funding and support for women seeking accredited training and education in coaching, officiating and sport management, governance and media/communications and scholarships for women in upper sports management to gain qualifications to support their progression to senior executive roles.
  • Women leaders in local government
    Women are under represented in local government, both at the unelected management levels and in elected positions.  The Australian Government provides funding for programs and activities to support women in local government including the Australian Local Government Women’s Association’s 50:50 vision program.

Funding is also provided for one-off projects to promote and develop women’s leadership, economic security and equal place in society.

  • Other initiatives
    The Women’s Leadership and Development Strategy also includes the planning and implementation of research, representation and coordinated policy advice on women’s leadership in boardrooms; meeting Australia’s international obligations; and providing support for NGO involvement in UN activities, including the Commission on the Status of Women.
  • Other services
    The Office for Women also works in partnership with other portfolios and jurisdictions and provides policy advice for the Select Council on Women’s Issues and its senior officials.

Support for Trafficked People Program

  • Support for Trafficked People Program
    The Support for Trafficked People Program (Support Program) provides individualised case management to trafficked people determined by the Australian Federal Police as eligible to enter the Support Program.  Support includes income assistance and access to accommodation, medical treatment, basic legal advice and counselling, training and social support.  

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