Response Agency Specific Actions


Agencies can use this information to guide the incorporation of gender considerations when developing their preparedness, response and recovery policies and plans.

Before Disaster

  • Assume that individuals have differing capabilities, and judge on skill and ability, not sex.
  • Respect and develop capacities of women — identify and support women’s contributions to informal early warning systems, school and home preparedness, community solidarity, socio-economic wellbeing and extended family care (Gender and Disasters Network 2005 p. 159)
  • Target women’s businesses, women in construction, women renters, and women’s services with risk reduction information.
  • Conduct a gender audit, e.g. www.whin.org.au/resources/gender-equity-and-analysis.html
  • Ensure everyone working in human services post-disaster has undertaken Identifying FV after disaster training http://www.whealth.com.au/work_family_violence_after_disaster.html or at a minimum, the Common Risk Assessment Framework training (or similar) http://www.dvrcv.org.au/training/family-violence-risk-assessment-craf
  • Conduct best-practice social change campaigns and gender training such as Men on Black Saturday and Gender Equity in Disaster (available 2016)
  • Design data gathering forms with DV/FV check boxes and expect them to be completed. Train response and recovery staff in the importance of accurate data collection.
  • Reassess the way positions are advertised and refocus on capabilities for a modern EM sector – rather than the historic reliance on individual strength.

During Disaster

  • Prioritise the needs of all sole adults escaping disaster with small children.
  • Ensure essentials are provided according to need. “Identifying everyone’s needs is important e.g. birth control and information for pregnant women” (Enarson 2012 p. 172)

After Disaster

  • Impress that disaster is no excuse for violence.
  • Include an agenda item on family violence in regular meetings of organisation and community recovery committees
  • Ensure safe evacuation sites: “Gender-sensitive planning can ensure women and children at risk of assault or abuse are not unnecessarily exposed during period of evacuation” (Enarson 2012 p. 172)
  • Attend to sex-specific needs, e.g. “personal hygiene items, quiet space for breast-feeding mothers, privacy for girls and women. Child care is needed for children and respite care for their care-givers” (Enarson 2012 p. 172)
  • Be alert to signs of DV, refer quickly and effectively, and record this in statistics. Neglect to refer for DV through misplaced sensitivity to men’s feelings serves nobody well.
  • Include diverse stakeholder groups to involve the whole community in recovery, e.g, work with women who are leaders in their communities in both formal and informal ways —women’s community organisations have vital insight, information, experience, networks and resources (Enarson 2012 p. 172; Gender and Disasters Network 2005 p. 159)
  • Educate men in peer support, allowing men to take the lead in helping other men through long-term recovery; promote these through social marketing using effective antiviolence campaign models.
  • Ensure alcohol-free and family friendly community events are included in recovery planning.

General Actions


Actions for Gender Equity

  • Recognise that the way men and women act is often the result of social conditioning and these gendered roles can leave women at a disadvantage both during and after disasters
  • Resist stereotypes —base all initiatives on knowledge of difference and specific cultural, economic, political and sexual context, not generalisations (Gender and Disasters Network 2005 p. 159).

Surviving Disaster

  • Before, during, and after disasters, challenge expectations that men will behave in a defined ‘masculine’ way – encourage expression of emotion.

Domestic Violence

  • Be aware that women are at increased risk of violence. Understand that disaster is no excuse for DV.
  • Name it: Say the word ‘violent’- not ‘stressed’ and ‘angry’.
  • Follow the 4 steps to support someone suffering domestic violence after a disaster.
  • Undertake training in identifying domestic violence after disaster, e.g. (provide Iink to our training on this site).