Survey of Community Attitudes towards People with a Disability

Project Details

In 2018, we conducted a survey to identify attitudes towards people with disability including stereotypes, stigma and discrimination.  As part of this we collected data from people with disability about their experiences of discrimination. In partnership with the Victorian government, we are working to establish a baseline description of community attitudes towards disability.

This quantitative survey is focused on attitudes that impact the social and economic participation of people with disability of all ages. It will provide the first population-level data about attitudes toward people with disability in Victoria, and will also yield nationally generalisable results.

The survey will inform the Victorian government's work in relation to 'Changing Attitudes', a key priority of the Absolutely Everyone: Victorian State Disability Plan (2017-2020). It will also establish a range of questions and instruments for use in subsequent surveys to measure attitudinal changes over time.

This survey has been developed with researchers who have lived experience of disability and through stakeholder interviews. In Phase 1, the research team reviewed existing measures and prior surveys on community attitudes about disability and intersecting domains (including racism and mental health stigma).  A survey draft is currently being refined through consultation with stakeholders in disability advocacy. In Phase 2, the survey will be administered to approximately 1000 Victorians and over 3000 Australians from the general adult population.

This is the first time this survey has been conducted in Australia. A full report on the findings is available for download below.


Professor Anne Kavanagh, University of Melbourne
Associate Professor Allison Milner (1983 - 2019), University of Melbourne
Ms Lauren Krnjacki, University of Melbourne
Ms Anne-Marie Bollier, University of Melbourne
Ms Vasiliky Kasidis, University of Melbourne
Ms Georgia Katsikis, University of Melbourne
Ms Jasmine Ozge, University of Melbourne


The Social Research Centre, Australian National University


Victorian Department of Health and Human Services

The program of work on Disability and Disadvantage is funded through grants and research contracts provided by a variety of sources, including the Australian Research Council, National Health and Medical Research Council, Victorian State Government Health department and internal University funding.

Research Outcomes

Download presentation (pdf) or preview here, from the National Workshop on Community Attitudes, 28 June 2019, Melbourne, Office of Disability, Victorian Department of Health and Human Services

blurry photo of crowd crossing road

Below is a summary of the key findings from the survey:

Research Publications

Changing Attitudes: Survey of community attitudes around disability. Melbourne: University of Melbourne and Department of Health and Human Services, August 2018.

Research Group

Disability and Health Unit

School Research Themes

Disparities, disadvantage and effective health care, Data science, health metrics and disease modeling

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact the research group leader.

Department / Centre

Centre for Health Equity

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