“More work needed” attitudes to violence research reveals

Phoebe PinGeraldton Guardian
Professor Sandra Thompson said more work is needed to shift attitudes that underpin violence.
Camera IconProfessor Sandra Thompson said more work is needed to shift attitudes that underpin violence.

Many Geraldton residents still see nothing wrong with sharing a sexist joke about women with a mate, according to new local research.

Published by the WA Centre for Rural Health, the report presents findings from the Local Community Attitudes and Exposure to Violence Survey conducted in 2019.

More than 900 Geraldton residents completed the questionnaire, which asked participants to outline their experience with and understanding of relationship violence and gender equality.

Overall, 44 per cent of respondents revealed they had experienced emotional abuse in the form of being repeatedly criticised and made to feel bad. Physical violence such as being slapped, punched or hit had been experienced by 37 per cent of survey participants.

Compared to Australia-wide figures found in the National Community Attitudes towards Violence against Women Survey, Geraldton residents were less likely to hold attitudes supportive of ongoing violence — such as blaming the victim or excusing the perpetrator.

Locals were also more likely to hold favourable attitudes towards gender equality within society, but 17 per cent of respondents agreed it was OK for men to make sexist jokes about women with their mates. Almost 20 per cent thought women attempted to seek power by gaining control over men.

WACRH director Professor Sandra Thompson said the findings indicated there was much to be done to create a safer and more supportive community for women in Geraldton.

“More work is needed to shift attitudes that underpin violence such as rigid and outdated gender stereotypes that devalue women and excuse violence,” she said.

“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.”

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails