Why survey attitudes to violence against women and gender equality?
Attitudes are shaped by the world around us, including through our families and friends, communities and institutions such as schools and the media. As a reflection of this world, attitudes may serve as a barometer. They are one way of telling us whether progress is being made and where we may need to focus future effort.
Attitudes are also important because they influence social norms or expectations of what is acceptable behaviour. These expectations in turn influence behaviour itself. In this way, community attitudes can have an impact on how professionals respond to violence against women, as well as the responses of neighbours, friends, family members and work colleagues. Holding violence-supportive attitudes can influence whether women experiencing violence seek help. Such attitudes may be adopted by men who use violence to excuse their behaviour. This makes it important to collect both information on people’s individual attitudes as well as social norms.
Preventing violence against women requires a range of actions, and changing attitudes are but one important step. We need to address the full range of structures, norms, and practices that support and allow violence against women to continue.
Change the story: A shared framework for the primary prevention of violence against women and their children in Australia
The National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010 – 2022