New data from the Australian Institute of Family studies has found that that nearly one third of Australian young people aged 18-19 years old have experienced intimate partner violence in the past year.
This abuse was emotional, physical and sexual – with social media and phone being a common feature of controlling and abusive behaviour. Young women were also more likely to be victims of sexual abuse.
Patty Kinnersly, CEO of national prevention organisation Our Watch said the data was alarming and needed to be taken seriously.
“Young people are desperate for information on how to engage in relationships and are using whatever means they can to make sense of it.
“Respectful relationships education should be taught in every school in the country beginning in primary school, in an age-appropriate way, so that young people can learn how to engage respectfully with each other and identify and challenge harmful behaviours and stereotypes.”
Ms Kinnersly said in the absence of comprehensive respectful relationships education, many young people were turning to the internet.
“Our research shows that almost half of boys have accessed porn online by the age of 12. A recent study from Europe has found that 90% of porn shows verbal, physical and sexual violence towards women.
“Research from the Man Cave has found a third of teen boys admire Andrew Tate who advocates that women are there to serve men and is on charges of human trafficking of women.
“Young people need to learn what respectful and consensual relationships are – and porn sites and social media influencers pushing harmful forms of masculinity are not healthy or safe ways for our young people to learn about relationships.
“What we know is that almost all perpetrators of violence against women are men and almost all perpetrators have two key elements in common – they do not view women as their equals and do not respect women.
“It’s vital that we’re working with young men and boys in positive ways to promote healthier and more positive and respectful ways of being a man – and that we are reaching them where they are: at school, at home, at their sports club and online.
“We want all women to thrive and have choices and men to be the best version of themselves. It needs everyone to be involved.”
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*If you cover this story, or any story regarding violence against women and children, please include the following tagline:
“If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, family or domestic violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000.”
To access guides for reporting about violence against women and their children, visit our media and reporting website.
About Our Watch
Our Watch is a national leader in Australia’s work to stop violence against women and their children before it starts. The organisation was created to drive nation-wide change in the practices, norms, and structures that lead to violence against women and children.