Our culture of violence By Jane Bunce August 11, 2006 12:00 Article from: AAP ALMOST half of adult Australians have been attacked, chilling new data has revealed. Women are most likely to be victims of physical violence in their home, but men have most to fear in bars or outdoors, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics figures. The figures show violence in society is widespread, with half of all men and 40 per cent of women suffering a violent attack since the age of 15. The ABS released the first national Personal Safety Survey, which also found one in 10 men and one in 20 women had experienced physical violence or been threatened in the past year. Men aged 18-24 were the most common targets of physical assaults, with 43 per cent complaining they had experienced violence in the past year. Men are most likely to get caught in bar room attacks or outside and their attackers are most commonly strangers. Women's experience of violence is most likely to be domestic, perpetrated by a man who in most cases was a friend or family member. More than 126,000 women, or 1.6 per cent, and more than 46,000 men, or 0.6 per cent, experienced sexual violence or threats in the 12 months prior to the survey. Most people were sexually assaulted by family members or friends. But the survey also found some good news. Physical and sexual violence, assaults and threats against women had all declined slightly since a 1996 survey on women's experiences with violence. And while more women reported feeling unsafe on public transport alone after dark, far fewer women said they felt unsafe at home alone at night. A decade ago, more than 21 per cent of women felt unsafe compared to just over 13 per cent in 2005. But the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Women's Issues, Julie Bishop, said although the survey showed a drop in physical violence against women aged 18 to 24 years, it showed disturbing increases against older women. "The message has to get through that violence against women is absolutely unacceptable in any form,'' she said. She said more people were reporting incidences of violence, which showed the government's $75.5 million Women's Safety Agenda was raising awareness. In the 12 months prior to the 2005 survey 35 per cent of men and 36 per cent of women reported their male attacker to police. "However more needs to be done,'' she said. "I will carefully consider these findings and will raise the implications with my colleagues at the upcoming Commonwealth, State, Territory and New Zealand Women's Ministers' Conference.''