This report presents the findings from a community survey, conducted on behalf of VicHealth in 2006. The survey aimed to gauge contemporary attitudes held by the community in Victoria towards violence against women, and to provide indicators of change in community attitudes since 1995. A total of 2800 persons were interviewed by telephone of which 2000 were randomly selected members of the general community (referred to in this report as the 'main sample'), and 800 were members of four selected culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds (Chinese, Vietnamese, Italian and Greek), referred to in this report as the 'SCALD sample'. The report also presents relevant findings from focus group research which was conducted both within the general community and with Indigenous members of the community to complement the survey research and scope out some of the issues relating to violence against women in more depth. While the findings indicate that the majority of community members do not overall hold violence-supportive attitudes, attitudes do not necessarily translate into behaviour. What was measured was what people said they believed or perceived, not actual behaviour or the link between the two. The survey indicated that despite improvements, attitudes that condone, trivialise or work against addressing violence persist. There is a need to complement current efforts to support those affected by violence with strategies to prevent violence before it occurs. This suggests the need for a comprehensive approach to primary prevention. This approach would be implemented across sectors and settings and would involve multiple and reinforcing strategies. In addition to strengthening current 'whole of population' campaigns, there is a need for better targeting to men and to those born overseas, both groups found in the survey to be more likely on average to hold violence supportive attitudes.
Paper one of the Violence Against Women Community Attitudes Project.