One in five young people blame the victim of sexual assault while almost half of them think tracking a partner electronically is acceptable, according to a new health report.
The national study showed young people were more likely to hold attitudes that contributed to violence against women than their older counterparts.
Nearly three in five people believed violence was caused by men being unable to control their anger, with 40 per cent thinking rape resulted from men not being able to control their sexual urges.
One in five believed women often said “no” when they meant “yes” and the same number thought women were partly responsible for sexual violence committed against them.
The report, by VicHealth, was released as the federal government unveiled a $100 million safety package to protect women victims of violence.
Member of the Council of Australian Governments’ advisory panel on violence against women Julie Oberin said it was a “major breakthrough” for Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to acknowledge violence against women was caused by gender inequality.
“I’m really heartened they have recognised the real cause and problem, so they know the solution is around raising gender equality,” Ms Oberin said.
She said the attitudes of young people were a reflection of their broader community.
“We’ve got to acknowledge responsibility we can’t keep blaming young people for reflecting back what they are getting back from their major influences, like their sporting coaches, their parents and their teachers,” she said.
There was still a tendency, she said, to minimise the violence or blame the victim by asking ‘Why doesn’t she just leave?’
“If she leaves, she could get killed,” Ms Oberin said.
This year 63 women have died due to gender violence – many at the hands of a partner or former partner. Three women have been killed in the past week.
Ms Oberin called for a social change and urged people to instead question why the perpetrator had not been stopped by the system or why their violence was sanctioned by their family and friends.
Nearly 2000 young people between 16 and 24 were surveyed about their views on gender equality as part of the 2013 National Community Attitudes towards Violence against Women survey.