The ‘Good People Act Now (GPAN) Project’ is a youth-led action group based in Broadmeadows, working to promote gender equality and prevent violence against women. The project is currently funded by the Victorian Government ‘GPAN’ focuses on peer-to-peer bystander action, equipping young people with tools to safely challenge harmful beliefs and attitudes that proliferate a culture of disrespect. Since 2014, ‘GPAN’ has trained over 100 young people, delivering a free six-week training course to recruits from Hume and surrounding areas each year.
In the training course, ‘GPANers’ cover topics such as: the link between gender inequality and violence against women, respectful relationships, intersectionality, gender stereotypes, responding to disclosures of gender-based violence, influencing and how to manage backlash.
Many ‘GPANers’ choose to volunteer beyond their first year and the opportunity to pay young people for their contributions as either permanent staff or for contracted work, has allowed the ‘GPAN’ project to be authentically youth-led. Participants are equipped with the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to be active bystanders in promoting gender equality and preventing violence against women in their communities. From 2014-2019, the ‘GPAN’ Youth Action Group had been raising awareness across Hume, including performances at local schools and events, the establishment of ‘GPAN’ hubs in local schools, and workshops on respectful relationships. In 2020, the group continued to meet online and used social media, a new monthly newsletter and video conferencing to continue to advocate for gender equity and the prevention of violence against women in the community.
An enabling factor has been the groundswell of support and commitment to achieving gender equality and ending violence against women by the Victorian Government and the wider community. Since its inception in 2014, the ‘GPAN’ initiative has highlighted that young people are best placed to influence their peers. Increasing engagement with online spaces has enabled ‘GPAN’s’ reach to grow and has increased community awareness of the program.
Check out ‘GPAN’s’ website www.goodpeopleactnow.org.au