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Youth work & the sector

Young Australians believe that domestic violence is common in Australia

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More than three-quarters (76%) of Australian young people feel that domestic violence is common in Australia, according to findings from a White Ribbon Australia/Youth Action NSW survey released in March.

The online survey investigated ‘attitudes towards, and perceptions of, domestic and dating violence’, attracting more than 3,100 respondents aged 16–25.

Results indicate that, while young people generally have a good awareness of domestic violence, gender and age ‘to some extent’ played a role in perceptions of domestic violence. For example, young men were more likely to agree with gender stereotypes than young women: 28% of males surveyed believed that ‘guys like girls who are in charge of the relationships’, while only 11% of females surveyed agreed with that statement. Likewise, younger respondents were ‘more likely to agree with attitudes supportive of violence’ (e.g. ‘It may not be right, but threatening to hit someone gets you what you want.’) than their older counterparts.

Most of the young people surveyed (71%) got their information about domestic violence from news sources, while a smaller proportion (54%) said they got this information from their school. This finding prompted White Ribbon Australia CEO Libby Davies to call on schools to play a ‘key role in educating young people and breaking the cycle of violence’.

‘There is a critical need for collective action. It is everyone’s responsibility to make this happen: schools, workplaces, sporting clubs, politicians and local communities alike must all play a role in ending men’s violence against women,’ she said.

Data gathered for the survey were analysed by researchers from UNSW’s Gendered Violence Research Unit, and published in the report Gender, age and the perceived causes, nature and extent of domestic and dating violence in Australian society. Click here to read the 27-page report.

Source:White Ribbon Australia media release, 24 March 2015.