Geraldton family violence attitudes and exposure measured

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The WA Centre for Rural Health (WACRH) is pleased to announce the publication of a local study which reviews community attitudes towards and exposure of family and domestic violence within the City of Greater Geraldton.

Funded by a Healthway grant, the Local Community Attitudes and Exposure to Violence Survey was developed to support the community-led strategic plan for the prevention of family violence in the region called the Community, Respect and Equality (CRE) Action Plan.

“When trying to tackle family violence, we need good systems for measuring progress. This survey gives us a baseline and shows us where we need to put our prevention efforts,” WACRH Director Professor Sandra Thompson said.

The survey was conducted late in 2019 and was based on the National Community Attitudes to Violence Survey (NCAS). Professor Thompson said the Geraldton survey gives some comparisons with the National Survey.

Compared to the NCAS, local respondents were less likely to hold attitudes supportive of ongoing violence, such as blaming the victim or excusing the perpetrator, and were more likely to hold favourable attitudes towards gender equality within society.

Despite this, 44% of respondents reported having ever experienced emotional abuse in the form of being repeatedly criticised to make them feel bad or useless. This was the most common kind of family violence reported, followed by 37% having ever experienced physical violence in the form of being slapped, punched or hit.

In Geraldton, young people aged 15-24 are less likely to identify abusive behaviours. Myths such as that violence is caused by alcohol persist across the whole population.

“More work is needed to shift attitudes that underpin violence such as rigid and outdated gender stereotypes that devalue women and excuse violence.

“Family violence affects many people in our communities and given the long-lasting effects of violence on our physical and mental health and most importantly on our children, it’s vital that we continue to do everything we can to prevent it.

“The survey provides the Geraldton community with some clear areas to work on together to collectively address myths and challenge the attitudes and norms that support family violence.

Professor Thompson said the survey will be distributed again next year to find out whether attitudes and experiences of family violence have changed over the past two years.

For a copy of the report, contact WACRH on 9956 0200 or go to website link -