Most people agree violence against women is wrong and are more likely to support gender equality than ever before, according to new research released today by Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety.
The National Community Attitudes towards Violence against Women Survey (NCAS) takes place every four years, and is the world’s longest-running survey of its kind.
It tells us how Australians understand the issue of violence against women, what influences them, identifies changes over time and explores if people are prepared to intervene.
The survey found that Australians’ understanding of violence against women and attitudes of support for gender equality rose between 2013 and 2017.
The average score for understanding violence was 70 out of 100 in 2017, up from 64 in 2013, and gender equality was 66 in 2017, up from 64 in 2013.
Minister for Families and Social Services, Paul Fletcher, said the Liberal-National Government provided $3.1 million for the survey, which sampled 17,500 people aged 16 years and over.
“It’s heartening to see the promising results in the latest NCAS to inform efforts to stop violence against women happening, which is why we have committed an additional $3.8 million towards the next wave which will be released in 2021,” Minister Fletcher said.
“However, there are response areas that remain concerning. For example, the NCAS found less people understand men are more likely to be the perpetrator, and one in three people surveyed believe if a woman doesn’t leave an abusive partner, she’s responsible for the violence continuing.”
Minister for Women, Kelly O’Dwyer, said changing deeply held attitudes doesn’t happen overnight.
“That is why the Australian, state and territory governments have invested in a range of primary prevention initiatives under the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children 2010-2022,” Ms O’Dwyer said.
“This includes the national, jointly-funded Stop it at the Start campaign, and two campaigns by Our Watch - Doing Nothing Does Harm, which is aimed at bystanders, and The Line, which is aimed at young people.
“Primary prevention will be a key priority in the development of the Fourth Action Plan of the National Plan, which will run from mid-2019 to 2022.”
Assistant Minister for Children and Families, Michelle Landry, said it was encouraging to see that more Australians are likely to support gender equality than they were in the 2013 and 2009 surveys.
“Most of us disagree with rigid gender roles and stereotypes in the workplace, around decision-making and a woman’s independence in relationships,” Ms Landry said.
“Unfortunately, 40 per cent of people believe women exaggerate how unequally they are treated and nearly one quarter saw no harm in making sexist jokes.”
Minister O’Dwyer said disrespect and harassment are not acceptable in any facet of life, including in the workplace.
“I recently announced $500,000 funding for the Australian Human Rights Commission to undertake a national inquiry into workplace sexual harassment, which will help employers take action to ensure women are safe in their workplaces,” Ms O’Dwyer said.
“The more we understand how people view the issue of violence against women, the better each of us can reflect on the impact of what we say and do.
“Everyone in the community can play a role in creating change now and for the next generation.”
The Coalition Government has zero tolerance for violence against women, committing well in excess of $300 million to address women’s safety, and includes new initiatives announced in the Women’s Economic Security Statement last week.
Visit www.anrows.org.au for more detail on the NCAS 2017 results. If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800RESPECT.org.au.