Young people surveyed for a report on domestic violence have revealed concerning attitudes towards the issue.
The VicHealth report exposed stark differences between the beliefs of Australian youths compared to their parents’ generation.
One in five believed there were circumstances in which women were partly responsible for sexual assault, while 46 per cent agreed tracking a partner by electronic means without consent was acceptable.
There was a 10 per cent increase in the number of young people who said they thought “rape results from men not being able to control their sexual urges”, up to 40 per cent from about 30 per cent in 2009.
VicHealth CEO Jerril Rechter said a large number of men who committed sexual offences did so before the age of 20.
“Violence against women is serious, common and preventable and while there are many factors that contribute to violence against women, attitudes towards gender roles, relationships and identities are among these,” she said.
“If the community accepts violence against women, men who use violence are more likely to feel it’s okay to behave disrespectfully or even violently, and as a community we’re less likely to take action when we see violence and disrespect.”
Of most concern, was statistics that showed nearly three in five young people thought violence was a result of a man being unable to control their anger.
Some young people were even prepared to excuse domestic violence.
If the perpetrator regretted their actions or if “the person is so angry they lose control”, one quarter believed partner violence could be excused.
“This report shows how far Australia has to go before we fully understand the nature of violence and reject it,” Ms Rechter said.
“Attitudes are learned and can be unlearned.”