Engaging men in violence prevention: Key resources

Ten things men can do

Table of contents:

Introductions to men's and boys' roles in ending men’s violence against women

Men and boys have a vital role to play in preventing and reducing men's violence against women and girls. Engaging men is now firmly on the violence prevention agenda.

The website XY includes great introductions to the notions that men have a role to play in preventing and reducing violence against women, that this violence is a 'men's issue', and that violence prevention efforts should include engaging men. See e.g. these short pieces:

The idea that men must take part in efforts to end men's violence against women - that this violence is 'men's problem' - is increasingly common. Here are some recent media commentaries making the case (in reverse chronological order). (For commentaries on the steps or actions men can take, see this XY collection.)

There is also scholarship and research on violence prevention work with men. See e.g.;

This is only a fraction of the scholarship on men and violence prevention, and XY includes a comprehensive academic bibliography on engaging men and men's anti-violence advocacy.

'Not all men'

Some men (and women) respond to the critique of men's violence against women by emphasising, "Not all men". The following articles discuss and critique this response. Also see the articles above.

Here is my summary of key responses:

  1. Nobody was making any claims about “all men” in the first place. Women *know* it’s not all men.
  2. It’s a defensive reaction, focused on men’s hurt feelings and egos rather than the real, widespread problem of some men’s violence against women.
  3. It’s selfish. It suggests that how men feel is more important than the fear and concern that many women understandably feel.
  4. It’s a sidetracking of the conversation. The discussion isn’t about the men who *aren’t* a problem.
  5. It misses the point: the violence that some men do gives all men a bad name. It makes all men a potential threat.
  6. So if you’re a man concerned about all men being seen as a threat, join the efforts to end the violence that makes us men seem that way.

What men can do

What can men do in their everyday lives to prevent and reduce men’s violence against women? How can men speak up and step in the face of violence and violence-supportive behaviours? Reports such as Men Speak Up provide detailed guidance and discussion, while this XY collection features a range of guides and discussions on the action men can take. XY's links page provides links to organisations and campaigns involving men in countries and regions across the world.

Principles for engaging men and boys

What principles should guide violence prevention work with men and boys? These pieces on XY identify key principles:

Reports and overviews

XY includes a wide range of key reports and overviews on the role of men in addressing violence against women, including the following (in reverse chronological order):

The work of engaging men has been around for a while, and XY includes some earlier speeches and articles too, e.g.;

Engaging men and boys: curricula, guides, and resources

XY includes a range of resources for engaging men and boys, including guides to the practical educational and other strategies which can be used to engage men:

Introducing men’s violence against women

People new to the area of men’s violence against women can find short overviews and introductions, including pieces such as;

If you want more detailed, scholarly accounts of men’s violence against women, or domestic or partner violence, or sexual violence, look to XY’s collections. These include:

Domestic violence and gender

There are debates and controversies in this work. One key debate is over gender and domestic violence: is women's domestic violence against men is as common as men's domestic violence against women? XY includes valuable resources here, including:

False allegations, MRAs, etc.

Men’s rights advocates (MRAs), and community members more widely, claim that women often make false allegations of domestic violence, sexual violence, or child abuse. But, this is not true, as this piece on false allegations of rape and this fact sheet spells out.

More widely, men's rights and father's rights advocates have attacked efforts to address men's violence against women. XY includes responses to typical anti-feminist claims, including this short piece (Flood, 2006), an article on fathers' rights groups and their efforts to undermine work to address violence against women, and a wide range of other materials.

Community attitudes

XY also includes valuable materials on community attitudes towards domestic / family violence or violence against women.

Violence prevention

Introductions and reviews

XY includes excellent resources on the violence prevention field in general. These include two XY collections featuring full text publications. The first focuses on short, accessible introductions to violence prevention, primary prevention, and so on. The second focuses on major, systematic reviews of prevention practice. (Also see the further references listed on these pages.) XY also includes comprehensive bibliographies of various violence prevention strategies and issues.

Violence prevention in particular settings and contexts or among particular groups

XY includes materials focused on violence prevention in particular settings and contexts or among particular groups of men and boys, including e.g.:

Other reports include:

Also see this bibliography on violence prevention in Indigenous, immigrant and refugee, and culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities.


This book chapter explores using online media for violence prevention with men and boys.


Fathers can play vital roles in preventing violence against women, both through their parenting of children and their relations with children’s mothers and other carers. XY includes materials on:


See e.g.:

War, militarism, conflict, and peacebuilding

Reports on engaging men in violence prevention, or addressing masculinities and violence, in the contexts of war, militarism, and conflict include:


One important context for violence prevention work is sport. XY includes, for example, a short piece on sport, athletes, and violence against women, and a longer review on Building Cultures of Respect and Non-Violence: A Review of Literature Concerning Adult Learning and Violence Prevention Programs with Men (2008). For references on violence against women in sports and/or by sports players, see here. For references on violence prevention in sports, see here.

Issues and strategies in prevention

You will find materials focused on particular strategies of or issues in violence prevention, including e.g.:

On bystander intervention, see:

Scholarship on prevention

The Men's Bibliography includes comprehensive bibliographies focused on particular strategies for prevention, including e.g. bystander education, social marketing, self-defence and rape resistance, theatre, and community mobilisation, and focused on particular settings or communities, including campuses and universities, sports, the military, faith communities, fathers, and Indigenous, immigrant and refugee, and culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities.


Any effort to engage men and boys in violence prevention will face some degree of resistance from participants and others. You will find valuable accounts of resistance, and how to lessen or prevent it, here. Also see Chapter 10 of Flood's book.


The prevention of sexual violence includes work encouraging norms and practices of consent, and XY includes a substantial collection on consent, including toolkits, discussions, and videos.


Pornography is widely identified as a key contributor to men's and boys' sexual violence against women and girls. This XY collection on pornography, men, and boys covers the evidence on the links between pornography and sexual violence, how to engage men and boys in resisting pornography, and more.

Violence against men

XY includes a wide range of materials on violence against men and boys. These include:

Debates, dilemmas, and challenges

There are debates over men's involvement in preventing men's violence against women. Should this work emphasise how men will benefit? How should this work be accountable to women? And so on.


One key issue is accountability. What is this, and how and to whom should this work be accountable? XY includes pieces here by Ben Atherton-Zeman, Kristy Macomber (2014), a very early statement by Men Against Pornography (1990s), and others. Also see:

What should we do when profeminist men or violence prevention advocates themselves are alleged to have perpetrated violence or abuse? This piece explores the issues.

Concepts and issues

You can explore important concepts in this work and dimensions of this work, including e.g.

Links to other sites

XY also includes links to other relevant sites, organisations, and campaigns (although some links need updating) including e.g.

Victim-survivors' stories

For first-person accounts of victim-survivors' experiences of domestic and sexual violence, see e.g.: