School pupils' attitudes to violence against women 'significantly' improve

A new report reveals the shift in attitude has largely come from girls rather than boys.

School pupils’ attitudes to violence against women ‘significantly’ improve iStock

School pupils’ attitudes to violence against women have “significantly” improved since 2014, according to a new report.

However, much of the change has come from a shift in the views of girls rather than boys, the Scottish Government’s report on young people in Scotland 2021 suggests.

Secondary school pupils were presented with the same scenarios from seven years ago to assess how perceptions on issues including domestic violence and harassment have changed over time.

The 2021 survey, which involved 1,286 pupils at 50 schools, found the vast majority view the behaviours in most scenarios as “wrong” or “harmful”.

Meanwhile, less than 5% viewed many of the experiences as “not wrong at all” – a figure relatively unchanged from 2014.

Scenarios relating to sexual harassment and stalking were most likely to be viewed as “wrong” by pupils in 2021, increasing to 94% from 89% in 2014.

However, it was wolf-whistling at strangers in the streets which had the biggest change over time, according to the data, with 84% of pupils now viewing the act as wrong compared to 56% in 2014.

Attitudes on domestic abuse within a marriage have improved, with 79% viewing physical and controlling abuse as wrong in 2021, up from 69% and 65%.

The report noted the change in attitudes was more noticeable among girls compared to their male counterparts.

The change in attitudes towards domestic abuse, for example, is driven by female perceptions, as the views of boys was unchanged from 2014 at 64% who thought the behaviour was wrong, compared to 84% in girls.

In 2014, when 2,285 pupils were surveyed, 76% of girls thought the behaviours were wrong.

The report said: “Pupils’ attitudes have changed significantly over the seven years between 2014 and 2021,” but added: “The increase is driven by a greater shift in attitudes among girls rather than boys.

“For all scenarios, girls were much more likely to view the behaviour as wrong compared to boys.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Violence against women and girls is abhorrent so we welcome this report which shows young people have a better understanding than ever of unacceptable behaviours towards women. Reports like this will help us focus on where work still needs to be done.

“Scotland’s Equally Safe strategy emphasises the importance of challenging attitudes which underpin such violence and our Delivering Equally Safe Fund provides £19 million per year to support projects including those which focus on early intervention and prevention and projects in education settings where young people learn about the impact of gender-based violence and abuse.”

STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code
Posted in