Australian attitudes to violence against women – 10 charts

VicHealth‘s poll of 17,500 people looked at the community’s knowledge, attitudes and responses to physical and other forms of violence, finding improvements since the first survey in 1995 but also some “concerning” negative findings.

Domestic violence is the leading cause of death and injury in women under 45, with more than one woman murdered by her current or former partner every week.

Get the low-down on what Australians think about the problem:

1. We know that violence is not just physical

Since the first survey in 1995, more and more people are recognising that violence against women includes a wide range of behaviours designed to intimidate and control women – not just physical assault.

This can include emotional, psychological, social and financial forms of abuse and control, as well as harassment over the phone or internet.

VicHealth says it is important to recognise “coercive control” because evidence suggests non-physical forms of violence can cause equal if not greater harm than physical forms.


2. We get confused about who commits violence

The bad news on Australians’ understanding of the subject is that since 1995, there has been a decrease in people who agree that violence is perpetrated mainly by men (down from 50 per cent to 30 per cent). ABS data shows that twice as many women as men experienced violence by a current partner in the last year. Other key findings:

• a decrease in those who recognise that women are more likely than men to suffer physical harm and fear as a result of this violence (down from 89 per cent to 86 per cent).

• fewer people agreed that violence against women was common. Males (59 per cent) are less likely than females (76 per cent) to agree that violence against women is common.

• Only four in 10 Australians are aware of the greater risk of violence experienced by women with disabilities.

• a decrease in understanding that women are at greater risk of sexual assault by a person they know than by a stranger, despite evidence that a woman is three times more likely to be sexually assaulted by someone she knows.{See rest of article}