Research shows young people’s attitudes are improving

Dept of Social Services

The Albanese Government has today launched the findings from the 2021 National Community Attitudes towards Violence against Women Survey (NCAS) Youth Report, which shows an overall improvement in young people’s attitudes towards gender-based violence and inequality.

The 2021 NCAS Youth Report, conducted by the Australian National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS), outlines how young people understand violence against women, their attitudes towards it, and measures changes in these.

Assistant Minister for Social Services and Assistant Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence, Justine Elliot, emphasised the importance of the research in identifying what must be done to improve young people’s attitudes and understanding in relation to gender-based violence.

“The NCAS Youth Report tells us that while there is more to be done, there has been a significant shift in young people’s understanding of violence against women,” said Assistant Minister Elliot.

“It’s heartening to see that between 2017 and 2021, young people significantly increased their rejection of attitudes that mistrust women’s reports of violence, objectify women, and disregard consent.

“The findings further demonstrate what we know to be true – that young people can be catalysts of social change and help shape a culture that rejects violence against women and fosters gender equality.”

Undertaken in 2021, the NCAS Youth Report focused on the findings of nearly 1,700 Australians aged 16 to 24 years. It aimed to:

  • benchmark understanding and attitudes regarding violence against women, attitudes towards gender equality, and intention to intervene when witnessing abuse or disrespect of women among young people
  • determine whether understanding and attitudes had improved among young people
  • identify gaps in understanding or problematic attitudes held by young people
  • identify demographic, attitudinal, and contextual factors associated with problematic understanding and attitudes among young people
  • compare the attitudes and understanding of young people to those of all NCAS respondents and respondents aged 25 years or older.

The report showed that young men’s understanding of violence against women, rejection of gender inequality, and rejection of violence against women, were not as developed as those of young women.

“Our Government recognises the important role young people play in achieving our shared goal of ending gendered violence,” Assistant Minster Elliot said.

“We are undertaking targeted projects to support young men and boys to develop positive masculinity and counteract misogynistic influencers, as well as fostering positive attitudes and behaviours amongst young people through evidence-based and age-appropriate resources delivered by Teach Us Consent.”

Acting CEO of ANROWS Jane Lloyd said the research provides an important evidence base for future preventative work.

“We know that while there has been an improvement, more preventative work needs to be done with young people, to ensure the next generation reject these harmful attitudes.”

The NCAS forms part of the evidence base of the National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children 2022-2032 and will be run again in 2025.

Across the past two Budgets, the Albanese Labor Government has made a record investment of $2.3 billion in women’s safety.

This includes more than $326 million in prevention initiatives such as consent and respectful relationships education, sexual violence prevention pilots, and funding to support the work of Our Watch, the national leading organisation for primary prevention of family, domestic and sexual violence in Australia.

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