Domestic Violence


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New South Wales Bureau of Crime Statistics figures show that over the past eight years, the number of women charged with domestic abuse has rocketed by 159 per cent.

* A woman can hit a man and is rarely charged
* If a man hits a women, man is nearly always charged
* If woman beats a man and he hits her back trying to defend himself, the police will remove him from the house and there is a high chance he will be charged and she wouldn’t be.
* The law protects women where all women know she can get away with hitting a man and if he protects himself, the police/law will make his life hell (charged/jail).
* Turn the TV on, u always see a woman getting upset over something small and always hitting the nearest guy! Assault from women to men is class as acceptable!

Contrary to common beliefs, up to One in Three victims of sexual assault* and at least One in Three victims of family violence and abuse is male (perhaps as many as one in two).

The Australian Bureau of Statistics Personal Safety Survey (2006) is the largest and most recent survey of violence in Australia. It found that:

  • 29.8% (almost one in three) victims of current partner violence since the age of 15 were male
  • 24.4% (almost one in four) victims of previous partner violence since the age of 15 were male
  • 29.4% (almost one in three) victims of sexual assault* during the last 12 months were male
  • 26.1% (more than one in four) victims of sexual abuse* before the age of 15 were male

The SA Interpersonal Violence and Abuse Survey (1999) found that:

  • 32.3% (almost one in three) victims of reported domestic violence by a current or ex-partner (including both physical and emotional violence and abuse) were male
  • 19.3% (almost one in five) victims of attempted or actual forced sexual activity* since they turned 18 years of age were male (excluding activity from partners or ex-partners).

“I phoned the domestic violence help line to try to resolve some issues concerning the abuse, and the woman who answered the phone said, ‘If you admit that you are the perpetrator and your wife says she has been victimised, then we can help you.” -Evan

The Crime Prevention Survey (2001) surveyed young people aged 12 to 20 and found that:

  • while 23% of young people were aware of domestic violence against their mothers or step-mothers by their fathers or step-fathers, an almost identical proportion (22%) of young people were aware of domestic violence against their fathers or step-fathers by their mothers or step-mothers
  • an almost identical proportion of young females (16%) and young males (15%) answered “yes” to the statement “I’ve experienced domestic violence”
  • an almost identical proportion of young females (6%) and young males (5%) answered “yes” to the statement “my boyfriend/girlfriend physically forced me to have sex”.

The NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (2005) found that 28.9% (almost one in three) victims of domestic assault between 1997 and 2004 were male. Male and female victims received very similar numbers and types of injuries (see figures 1 and 2 below). The latest (2010) figures show that 30.8% (almost one in three) victims of assault – domestic violence related offences recorded by NSW Police were male.

The Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission (2005) found that 32.6% (almost one in three) victims of family violence reported to police were male.

The Australian Institute of Criminology (2013) found that 39% (two in five) victims of domestic homicide and 27% (almost one in three) victims of intimate partner homicide between 2008-2010 were male.

The Victorian Victims Support Agency (2012)8 found that in 2009-10, 36% (more than one in three) persons admitted to Victorian Public Hospitals for family violence injuries were male.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2012) found that 45.4% (more than one in two) victims of hospitalised family violence (from a spouse or domestic partner, parent or other family member) in Australia from 2002–03 to 2004–05 were male.

The Australian Institute of Family Studies (1999) observed that, post-separation, fairly similar proportions of men (55 per cent) and women (62 per cent) reported experiencing physical violence including threats by their former spouse. Emotional abuse was reported by 84 per cent of women and 75 per cent of men.

A University of Melbourne / La Trobe University study (1999) found that men were just as likely to report being physically assaulted by their partners as women. Further, women and men were about equally likely to admit being violent themselves. Men and women also reported experiencing about the same levels of pain and need for medical attention resulting from domestic violence.

Who to talk to for advice – family or friends? No way. I looked up the Yellow Pages. The voice answering the phone at the Rape Crisis Centre said, ‘Only women are abused’. I spoke to a doctor. She seemed to listen to my stammering for a few minutes and then while scribbling asked, ‘What are you doing to make her behave that way?’ -Alan

An extensive study of dominance and symmetry in partner violence by male and female university students in 32 nations by Murray Straus (2008) found that, in Australia, 14 per cent of physical violence between dating partners during the previous 12 months was perpetrated by males only, 21 per cent by females only and 64.9 per cent was mutual violence (where both partners used violence against each other).

Fergusson & Mullen (1999), in Childhood sexual abuse: an evidence based perspective, found that one in three victims of childhood sexual abuse* were male.

The Queensland Government Department of Communities (2009) reported that 40% (more than one in three) domestic and family violence protection orders issued by the Magistrate Court were issued to protect males.

A study of risk factors for recent domestic physical assault in patients presenting to the emergency department of Adelaide hospitals (2004) found that 7% of male patients and 10% of female patients had experienced domestic physical assault. This finding shows that over one in three victims were male (39.7%).

The Australian Institute of Family Studies’ evaluation of the 2006 family law reforms (2009) found that 39% (more than one in three) victims of physical hurt before separation were male; and 48% (almost one in two) victims of emotional abuse before or during separation were male.

A study of relationship aggression, violence and self-regulation in Australian newlywed couples by researchers at the University of Queensland (2009)16 found that a substantial minority of couples reported violence, with 82 couples (22%) reporting at least one act of violence in the last year (i.e., the year leading up to and including their wedding). Female violence was more common than male violence, with 76 women (20%) and 34 men (9%) reported to have been violent. There was a significant association between female and male violence. In violent couples the most common pattern was for only the woman to be violent (n=48/82 or 59% of violent couples), next most common was violence by both partners (n=28, 34%), and least common was male-only violence (n=6, 7%).

These 17 authoritative sources agree that up to One in Three victims of sexual assault* and at least One in Three victims of family violence is male (perhaps as many as one in two). Yet previous governments have been unable to acknowledge or offer any services for these victims. This conscious neglect is in itself a form of social violence – the Australian Government’s human rights obligations require it to cater equitably for the needs of all, regardless of gender. One in three is enough to reject the politics of ideology. It is time to care for all those in need, whether male or female.

Preconceived ideas of gender roles have led a lot of people to believe it would be virtually impossible for a women to physically abuse a man.

But co-director of Men’s Rights Agency Sue Price says it is exactly this stereotype that leads to battered men hiding in shame, fearful of being ridiculed, or even prosecuted.

“I’ve had SAS soldiers in tears because the wife is a black belt karate expert and yet they know that if they even try to restrain her he might be charged with assault and domestic violence,” she said.

“It’s much harder for a man to actually admit that his wife is beating him up. They seem to regard it as a shameful issue and a lot of police actually say to men ‘What did you do to make your wife hit you?’ or ‘Can’t you handle your missus?’

“Those are things that seem shameful if a man can’t keep his relationship on an even keel. They take it to heart very seriously and for a lot of them, the last thought is for them to call the police to have their wives arrested, because after all she’s the mother of their children.”

Ms Price says it is a well-known fact that many abusive women resort to using weapons, or wait to catch their spouse unawares before they attack.

“We have so many reports of people having hot liquids poured over them in bed, glasses broken, men hit over the head from the back, attacked while they’re asleep, cut, burnt,” she said.

Despite the many domestic violence support services available to women victims, Ms Price says there is almost no practical and legal outreach for men.

“There’s been a lot of procrastination about the issue. Yes there are refuges but if you try and access them you’ll find there’s not one place for a man and his children,” she said.

“Where do they move to when they’ve got a violent wife? How do they protect their children when they’re in a violent household caused by a violent mother?

“On the other side of the coin as well, there are no treatment programs for women who are violent. There are no anger management programs. There’s plenty for men, but not for women. That’s of central need if we’re going to treat this issue properly.”

Funding fight

Ms Price believes the reason there are no services for male victims comes down to money and the monopoly women’s services have over it.

“Women’s groups are in total denial that women can be violent and they maintain that stand because they want to garner all the funding that’s available under the domestic violence legislation,” she said.

“They won’t take it that a man can be a victim of domestic violence, they always portray the mantra that it’s always women who are victims and men who are perpetrators. That’s clearly not true. We’ve known it for years but there’s been an absolute refusal to acknowledge it.”

She says this has helped contribute to the increase in women abusers and has called on other states to follow NSW and release their domestic abuse figures, which she believes would tell a similar story.

“If you keep telling people they can do this and get away with it they will do so. It’s a little bit like the situation in Victoria where a women can now murder her husband with impunity, providing she claims she was a victim of domestic violence – and that’s after the fact, of course,” she said.

“Thirty per cent of applications I believe are made by men for protection under the domestic violence legislation and I think we’d have similar figures in Queensland, she said.

“It was up to nearly 20 per cent when I last accessed the figures in 1999. Since then we’ve been prevented from seeing them.”

Break the cycle

If you’re in an abusive situation, you might recognize this pattern:

  • Your abuser threatens violence.
  • Your abuser strikes you.
  • Your abuser apologizes, promises to change and offers gifts.
  • The cycle repeats itself.

Typically the violence becomes more frequent and severe over time.

Domestic violence can leave you depressed and anxious. You might be more likely to abuse alcohol or drugs or engage in unprotected sex. Domestic violence can even trigger suicide attempts. Because men are traditionally thought to be physically stronger than women, you might be less likely to talk about or report incidents of domestic violence in your heterosexual relationship due to embarrassment or fear of ridicule. You might also worry that the significance of the abuse will be minimized because you’re a man. Similarly, a man being abused by another man might be reluctant to talk about the problem because of how it reflects on his masculinity or because it exposes his sexual orientation. Additionally, if you seek help, you might confront a shortage of resources for male victims of domestic violence. Health care providers and other contacts might not think to ask if your injuries were caused by domestic violence, making it harder to open up about abuse. You might also fear that if you talk to someone about the abuse, you’ll be accused of wrongdoing yourself. Remember, though, if you’re being abused, you aren’t to blame — and help is available.

Start by telling someone about the abuse, whether it’s a friend, relative, health care provider or other close contact. At first, you might find it hard to talk about the abuse. However, you’ll also likely feel relief and receive much-needed support.

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