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Australians’ Attitudes to Violence Against Women

Australians' Attitudes to Violence Against WomenFull Article Name: Australians’ Attitudes to violence against women

Open Access: Yes


This is a report of the 2013 National Community Attitudes towards Violence Against Women Survey, referred to in this report as the National Community Attitudes Survey or NCAS, conducted by VicHealth in partnership with the Social Research Centre and The University of Melbourne in 2013. This full technical report is one of three project publications, the other two being a summary report and a report focussing on the cohort of young people (aged 16 to 24 years), both of which are available at The survey is supported by the Australian Government Department of Social Services as part of the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and Their Children 2010–22. It is the third wave of a national survey commencing in 1995. The survey has a focus on partner violence, sexual assault, stalking and sexual harassment. Its purposes are to:

— Gauge community knowledge of and attitudes towards violence against women and responses to the problem

— Gauge changes over time, drawing on data from the two previous waves of the survey conducted in 1995 and 2009

— Improve understanding of factors contributing to knowledge of and attitudes towards violence against women.

A cross-section of 17,517 Australians aged 16 years and over participated in a 20-minute telephone interview. Half were contacted on landlines and half by mobile phone, the latter to maximise the participation of groups typically under-represented in landline-only surveys (e.g. young men, Indigenous Australians). Responses for a range of groups were analysed including people from Indigenous backgrounds, those born overseas and people with disabilities. Attitudes reflect broader social norms and so are a barometer to measure progress in addressing violence against women. Knowledge of and attitudes towards violence against women influences individual women’s responses to victimisation, as well as the responses of family, friends and professionals. Attitudes can also be linked with perpetration under certain circumstances. A sound understanding of attitudes towards violence is important to foster positive attitudes, to engage the wider community in preventing the problem and to ensure that policy and program responses are appropriate.


    Webster, K., Pennay, P., Bricknall, R., Diemer, K., Flood, M., Powell, A., Politoff, V., & Ward, A. (2014). Australians’ attitudes to violence against women: Full technical report, Findings from the 2013 National Community Attitudes towards Violence Against Women Survey (NCAS). Victorian Health Promotion Foundation.


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