'Gendered Fire Planning' and 'Disaster is no excuse for Violence' Postcard Distribution Project
The GAD Pod is undertaking a project that seeks to increase the number of households with a written fire plan in rural and peri-urban areas where bushfire is an ongoing threat. The need for this emerged from our Long-term Disaster Resilience research, launched in February 2019. This research indicates that for most people, there is no getting over experience of disasters. Prevention of involvement or loss of life in disasters - by following advice to 'Leave and Live' - will save lives, and will prevent life-long physical and mental health impacts for survivors. The benefits of such fire planning flow to individuals, to families, first responders, health and government professionals in the reconstruction stage, and to entire communities. Conflict between couples frequently prevents fire planning discussions.
The GAD Pod will provide evidence-based resources (a set of two postcards: ‘Fire planning with a gendered lens) to assist community organisations including shires, councils and CFA Brigades to encourage women and men to discuss their roles in a potential fire, and the impacts disasters can have. It aims to create greater awareness of gendered expectations in disaster. Gendered expectations (of men to protect and provide, and women to sacrifice and nurture) are central to decisions made in the height of a disaster. Raising awareness of the risks involved in such decisions will contribute to community resilience.
- Postcard 1: ‘Questions’ prompts the reader to think about the underlying factors and reasons for their decisions.
- Postcard 2: The ‘Facts’ provides evidence of the risk to life and wellbeing of socially constructed roles on evacuation and fire planning
Complementing this, community organisations will include the ‘Disaster is no excuse for family violence’ postcard in their dissemination. Our research, ‘The Way He Tells It’ was the first Australian research to investigate family violence after disasters. It found that, not only does family violence increase after disaster, but that women are silenced. The research found that women’s right to live free from violence is conditional upon the level of suffering men face. Increased family violence in disasters can be prevented or reduced if community members and health professionals are aware of this likelihood and know how to respond constructively.
- Developed in 2011, this third postcard, ‘'Disaster is no excuse for family violence', offers community members a simple 4-step process to acknowledge family violence, and provides referral information to support services.
Long-Term Disaster Resilience Report wins 2019 Victorian Resilient Australia Community Award!
On the 28th of August 2019, The GAD Pod won the 2019 Victorian Resilient Australia Community Award for their research on 'Long-term Disaster Resilience'. The fire-planning postcards used in the Postcard Project are resourced directly from this report.
The awards celebrate initiatives that build community resilience to disasters and emergencies, recognising collaboration and innovative thinking across all sectors.
Research from the Gender and Disaster Pod ensures a gendered analysis:
" The different ways in which women and men responded to, and were affected by, the experience of disaster had implications for short and long-term resilience. A striking finding is how gendered expectations of strong, stoic men and nurturing, protective women became more salient during and after the disaster. Gendered expectations lowered the resilience of men and women. This led men to denial, not talking about the disaster, having angry outbursts and not identifying when they needed help. In comparison, women held families together and were responsible for the emotional health of the family – often at great cost to their own health and wellbeing. Their contributions were often invisible."