Australia, it's time we talked about our attitudes towards violence against women. They simply don't reflect reality. Recent data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Personal Safety Survey (PSS) confirms that many Australians are getting some fundamental things wrong when it comes to attitudes towards men's violence against women. When you look at the recent PSS data alongside this year's national community attitudes survey (NCAS), we see an Australian community grappling with perception versus reality. Despite concerted efforts to raise community awareness and understandings from victim-survivor advocates such as Rosie Batty, Grace Tame and Chanel Contos, we are a nation where not enough of us believe that violence against women is a gendered issue. Concerningly, not enough Australians also believe women when they report instances of violence, and too many Australians blame women when they don't leave an abusive relationship. Australia, are we comfortable with this as a reflection of the attitudes we hold? Surely not. This data is yet another reminder that we must shift attitudes across our country if we are to have any hope of ending violence against women within a generation. While nearly half of Australians (41 per cent) think that domestic violence is committed equally by men and women, national data consistently shows that domestic violence perpetration is not gender neutral. It is highly gendered. Most people, men and women, who experience violence do so at the hands of a male perpetrator. Understanding the gendered nature of domestic violence, particularly when it comes to perpetration, is critical to better targeting and delivering effective solutions. Nearly a quarter of Australians believe that many women exaggerate the extent of men's violence against women. Yet the ABS data shows us that 9.9 million women have experienced violence, emotional abuse or economic abuse by a partner since the age of 15. If we do not believe victim survivors when they come forward and report their victimisation - a harrowing, dangerous and complex process for anyone to go through - we are subjecting them to further harm and putting their lives and the lives of their children at further risk. Are we comfortable with this, Australia? The cost of not believing women when they report men's violence is heavy. As Counting Dead Women Australia report and as we write this, 53 women have been killed this year - six in the past week. The majority allegedly killed by the violence of men known to them. We need to accelerate efforts to change attitudes that dismiss, condone, or justify violence against women. One in four Australians believe that a woman is partly responsible for the violence inflicted against her if she does not leave an abusive relationship. But when she does try to leave, we either don't believe her or apportion blame to something she must have done. Australian women are in a lose-lose situation, and their very lives are at risk. Changing our attitudes toward men's violence against women is critical. These individual attitudes bleed into every part of the institutions that govern our lives - the police, the courts, our workplaces, schools, universities, media - because these institutions are made up of the individuals that make up the Australian community. Individuals with attitudes, and more often than not, attitudes that can disadvantage women. Our attitudes don't just impact us, they impact the work we do and the way we relate to each other. Critically, they impact on the children we are raising and the messages they are receiving about the acceptability of violence. Serious self-reflection is needed now more than ever, particularly given the economic climate we are navigating. For the first time, the PSS looked at economic abuse. Economic abuse is around twice as prevalent amongst women as men. If women do not have access to financial resources, they have little to no option when it comes to leaving an abusive relationship. The findings are a stark reminder that too many Australian women experiencing violence navigate the impossible choice of living with violence or facing homelessness and poverty. Rates of partner violence and abuse are higher when there is economic instability and financial insecurity. So, while it is important to understand the individual dynamics of economic abuse within relationships, it is equally important to look at the policies that can induce financial insecurity. We must better understand and to understand how they may facilitate or exacerbate violence. For instance, the liquid asset test for Centrelink, low single parent payments and the partner test for the Disability Support Pension. Each of these policies penalise women experiencing financial abuse, leaving them further reliant on an abusive partner and trapped within a violent situation. We also need banks, credit providers, and child support services to adopt a harm prevention focus. Economic sabotage can be prevented through reforms to child support, family court, and property settlement processes. Better protections can also be built into financial products through safety by design processes, and a positive duty on banks and credit providers to identify and protect against economic abuse. We have seen gains in these areas in recent years, and we need to continue to accelerate these efforts. This latest release of the PSS comes at the start of the annual 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence, a global movement to prevent violence against women and girls. If there is one thing that we implore each Australian to do during these 16 Days of Activism, it is to look at your own attitudes toward violence against women. They have an impact, and they are within your power to change. Violence against women and family violence is a national crisis in Australia. Shifting attitudes that condone and excuse violence is one step towards eliminating these harms - Australians open your eyes, hearts and minds, join us and change the story for a safer future for women and children.