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Australians less compassionate says Red Cross survey


Thursday February 28, 2008

Nearly half of all Australians (45 per cent) think that Australian society is less compassionate towards vulnerable groups than it was 10 years ago, according to a Red Cross survey released today.

But while Australians overwhelmingly believe the vulnerable groups in society need more help, far fewer actually involve themselves in providing it:


Elderly people living alone
% who think they need more or much more community help - 89%
% who have personally helped them in the last 12 months - 40%

People who live with a mental illness
% who think they need more or much more community help - 88%
% who have personally helped them in the last 12 months - 35%

People who are homeless
% who think they need more or much more community help - 84%
% who have personally helped them in the last 12 months - 40%

People living in poverty
% who think they need more or much more community help - 83%
% who have personally helped them in the last 12 months - 48%

People affected by emergencies and disasters
% who think they need more or much more community help - 61%
% who have personally helped them in the last 12 months - 53%


The survey aims to gauge community perceptions of vulnerability in Australia, and is being released to coincide with the launch of the Red Cross Calling Appeal, on Saturday 1 March.

Australian Red Cross acting CEO Dale Cleaver said the findings were not a reason for disillusionment, but for action.

He highlighted the gap between the perceived level of need and the actual help provided by Australians to vulnerable groups.

'Perhaps people feel overwhelmed, and don't know how to offer help,' he said. 'But it doesn't have to be difficult to support vulnerable people.

'Red Cross is active in finding ways for people to engage with vulnerable groups. We see people at their best -- whether it be the thousands of volunteers who give of their time so willingly day in day out, including those who helped out in flood-affected Queensland recently, or those who donate to our Appeals.

'Red Cross is one of the organisations giving Australians the chance to help those they consider to be in greatest need.'

Full results of the survey are available to be downloaded (see below).

The Red Cross Calling Appeal is the organisation's major appeal for funds to support its work in Australia and overseas, with a target of $9 million in 2008.

To make a donation:

  • Use the secure online donation link below.
  • Make a credit card donation by phoning 1800 811 700
  • Make a donation at Coles Supermarkets or at any Commonwealth Bank branch.
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