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“It depends on what the definition of domestic violence is”: how young Australians conceptualise domestic violence and abuse

Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) Violence prevention Family violence Interpersonal relationships Australia

This mixed-methods study aimed to interrogate and clarify results from the 2017 National Community Attitudes towards Violence against Women Survey (NCAS) regarding young people’s understandings of domestic violence.

The 2017 NCAS reported some 'areas of concern' within young people’s understandings despite a generally good overall understanding (Politoff et al., 2019). These areas of concern related to understandings of the forms of non-physical violence against women, the prevalence of domestic violence and the gendered nature of domestic violence. This study took a critical youth studies approach to further explore young people’s conceptualisations of domestic violence.

The aim of this study was to appropriately design initiatives for young people and to upskill them as agents of change in the prevention of domestic violence, there is a need to explore what young people understand and how they come to these understandings – on their own terms.

This study underscores the value of promoting young people’s voices in research, policy and practice design. By centring young people’s voices, our findings give rise to important implications for policies and strategies aimed at preventing domestic violence and abuse and for respectful relationships initiatives for young people in Australia. These implications are highly relevant for policy-makers, practice design decision-makers, practitioners, educators and youth workers.

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Research report 09/2022