Why Aussie women are too scared to walk home
ONE in two Australian women are too scared to walk alone in their own suburbs at night, making us one of the least safe places in the developed world.
We're also becoming a meaner country, giving less to charity, our incarceration rate is twice that of Europe and more Australians now die of suicide than on the roads or from terrorism, violence and many diseases.
And global perceptions of the level of corruption in the Australia's government sector continues to worsen.
A major new report by the Community Council of Australia group, representing 600,000 charities and not for profit organisations into the kind of country Australians want to live in, has found we are going backwards on many measures.
As the election campaign continues to focus on the economy, CCA chair Tim Costello says too many of the discussions about Australia's future are focused on our economy, not our lives, our relationships or the country we want to live in.
Instead of thinking of ourselves as passengers in an economy, Australians need to start doing more to embed values into our lives and build flourishing communities, he said.
The report, finalised in March, also found in Australia, men are much more likely (79 per cent) to feel safe walking alone at night than women (49 per cent) and the gap is the highest of any nation in the OECD the report says.
The report comes as Australian Bureau of Statistics figures released yesterday show why women are so scared.
Two in five people - or 7.2 million aged 18 years and over - have experienced an incident of physical or sexual violence since the age of 15, according to the ABS.
For men, the proportion experiencing physical violence has almost halved since 2005, decreasing from 10 per cent in 2005 to 5.4 per cent in 2016.
For women, the proportion experiencing physical violence fell only slightly from 4.7 per cent in 2005 to 3.5 per cent in 2016.
And the proportion of women experiencing sexual violence actually increased from 1.2 per cent in 2012 to 1.8 per cent in 2016, the ABS said.
To measure how Australians are feeling about their lives, the Community Council of Australia found deaths by suicide in Australia grew between 2016 and 2017 with eight people now taking their own lives each day.
Suicide is now the leading cause of death among Australians aged 15-44.
Our incarceration rate rose six per cent in 2017 and it is now higher than any country in Western Europe, three times the rate in Ireland, double the rate in Scandinavia and 50 per cent higher than Canada.
The report checked Australian Taxation Office data to find the amount Australians donated to charity fell from 0.4 per cent of income tax to 0.36 per cent in 2015-16.
Together with falls in government spending on foreign aid, this indicates "we are becoming a meaner country" says report author Community Council Australia CEO David Crosbie.
Half of the households in Australia with a mortgage are over-indebted, owing more than three years' income, the report shows.
The good news is more Australians are volunteering and Year 12 Certificate attainment is slowly rising.
"Australians want to lead more meaningful lives and have a better sense of belonging," Mr Crosbie said.
The charity sector wants to help turn around the negative trajectory and says the job can't be left to politicians.
Communities have to make education, suicide, incarceration and other social outcomes their business and work to make improvements, Mr Crosbie said.
Crowd funding to pay fines so people don't go to prison for not paying them, celebrating educational achievement in a local community, supporting the endeavours of children who have a dream, providing better mental health care and drug rehabilitation, he said.
* If you or someone you know is in need of crisis or suicide prevention support, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit www.lifeline.org.au/gethelp