Sally Stevenson firmly believes the voices of young people are often the most powerful to their peers.
That's why the Illawarra Women's Health Centre general manager is so excited about a "unique research project" called Youth Attitudes to Domestic and Family Violence.
Ms Stevenson said the youth-driven project was being led by students from Warilla and Lake Illawarra high schools.
"The students are doing surveys around the attitudes of youth to domestic and family violence. These surveys will be passed onto researchers from the University of Wollongong," she said.
"This is quite exciting and hasn't been done like this before.
"National surveys have been done but we are going to do a survey of the whole school, from Year 7 to Year 12.
"We will then use the results to work with the schools and the students particularly to develop strategies to combat any attitudes that support violence."
Ms Stevenson said working with project steering committee students from Warilla and Lake Illawarra had been excellent.
"They are committed, articulate, insightful and compassionate young people, determined to make a better life for their communities.
"Knowing they are the future leaders makes us optimistic," she said.
One of the steering committee members, Ben Santiago from Warilla High School, said domestic violence was a serious issue in the Illawarra.
"It is a horrible face of our community," the Year 12 student said.
"People are aware of it but it hasn't been tackled enough. I personally believe there hasn't been enough to fight the problem.
"What we are doing is try to find out what young people think about domestic violence.
"It is a project that the people involved in are very passionate about. It is not just a faceless project.
"We generally care about it and hope it helps in some way."
It [domestic violence] is a horrible face of our community.Warilla High student Ben Santiago
Fellow Warilla High student Isabella Morrison hopes the entire school community can come together to help those affected by domestic violence.
"At the moment I think it is a little taboo, we don't really talk about it," she said.
"I don't actually know anyone in the school that has gone through it because it is private.
"I hope this survey brings the school community together because I believe the more educated we are the better we can help people who are going through hard times in regards to domestic violence."
Student support officer Jewel Vukicevic said Warilla High School was sending 1300 envelopes to all school parents informing them about the upcoming surveys on November 21 and 28.
"This project is something the school feels strongly about because we know the statistics and we also know there are people in our school community that are touched by this," she said.
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Ms Stevenson added it was important the project incorporated schools in the electorate of Shellharbour, which still has the most incidents of domestic violence in NSW.
"Attitudes towards gender inequality and violence are among the many factors that contribute to this violence," she said.
"If we can understand young people's attitudes towards violence - and work with them to move away from any violence supporting attitudes - then we will be making a strong contribution to ongoing reduction of DFV especially if we can work with our future community leaders and influencers."