Violence against women is prevalent in NSW and Australia. There is evidence to suggest that addressing the underlying factors that contribute to this violence can assist in prevention. Community attitudes supportive of gender inequality and violence against women are among such factors.
This report is a summary of the 2017 National Community Attitudes Survey (NCAS) results for the NSW community, and follows reports on the Australian population and on demographic groups of interest.
The NCAS is a population-based periodic telephone survey (landline and mobile) of a representative sample. In 2017, 17,542 people were surveyed across Australia, including 4,018 people from NSW. They were asked about their:
- knowledge of violence against women;
- attitudes towards this violence and gender equality; and
- intention to act if they were to witness abuse or disrespect towards women.
A combination of descriptive and multivariate statistical analyses were used to produce the findings in this report.
Implications for policy and practice:
Overall, the 2017 NCAS results show improvements in attitudes towards violence and gender equality in the NSW community. However, there remain areas of concern. Continued effort is needed to make sure that positive changes in attitudes are reflected in a reduction of violence against women.
Based on the 2017 NCAS findings, key areas to focus NSW prevention efforts include:
- support initiatives at a national as well as local level given the similarity of findings for NSW compared to the Australian community;
- address gaps in knowledge about violence against women;
- challenge attitudes that minimise violence against women and mistrust women’s reports of violence;
- encourage attitudes supportive of mutually respectful and consensual sexual relationships;
- ensure that people in NSW know where to get help for a domestic violence issue;
- include a focus on gender equality in prevention programming, especially as it relates to private life;
- build strategies to address ‘backlash’ towards gender equality into prevention programs and policies; and
- encourage bystander action by providing knowledge about the likelihood of support from friends as well as strategies about how to act.