Skip to content
Cowshed Logo
two men talking in a boxing ring

Developing an early intervention framework for gender-based violence

The challenge

Violence against women is pervasive, endemic, and life threatening. But it is not inevitable. The Welsh Government’s 2022-2026 strategy for violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence prioritises working with those who carry out abuse to make Wales the safest place in the world to be a woman.

In 2023 Cowshed developed a groundbreaking early intervention communication approach to tackle VAWDASV.

The idea

This piece of work was set out with one guiding principle. Provide opportunities for those at risk of carrying out violence to choose education and support to divert them from the risk they pose to others. This early education is vital in ensuring future generations can break cycles of intergenerational abuse and trauma, and develop healthy relationships based on respect and consent.

We set out to challenge the toxic rhetoric that currently exists around masculinity, by providing young men with positive role modelling, trustworthy advice, and importantly, by encouraging open and honest conversations amongst male peers which de-normalise violence against women.

We developed a nationwide survey, exploring views and understanding of gender-based violence, healthy relationships and issues relating to gender equality, speaking to over 500 men in Wales. We understood the need to co-design with the intended audience to co-develop solutions to gender-based violence. We engaged with the intended audience in their own spaces to cultivate a sense of heightened safety and trust i.e., in their college, at their football club, at their barbers.

Co-production allowed for audience led development of campaign elements such as channel plan, branding, tone, influencers and behaviours. This deep community engagement also shone a light on 3 distinct barriers to behaviour change. Young men don’t really understand what gender-based violence is, they are afraid to ask in case it leads to social alienation or more serious consequences, and there is a lack of educational resources that aren’t female led, or persecutory.

This led us to Sound. A new social platform providing men aged 18-34 in Wales with encouragement to ‘sound out’ their relationships, behaviours, and thoughts with each other, get ‘sound advice’ from sector-informed trusted sources and embody the ‘sound as’ spirit of those they consider role models.


of 18-34 year old men reached within 8 weeks.