On 26 February 2020, the Senate referred an inquiry into domestic violence with particular regard to violence against women and their children to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee for report by 13 August 2020.
The Inquiry has been completed earlier than was scheduled and its report is available here.
This article describes the early completion of the report and the adverse reaction it received from the feminist lobby. I have yet to fully read the report, but one useful feature is a brief summary of the many enquiries that preceded it.
From an egalitarian perspective the dissenting report from Senator Rex Patrick is disappointing – and hypocritical beyond belief in terms of what was, wasn’t, and should have been addressed by the Committee.
I note too that the term ‘male victim’ appears only twice in the 44 page report, in each case only as a brief passing reference to recommendations from earlier inquiries.
2. The Inquiry (Revised version)
What do you do when a powerful part of your audience isn’t happy? Yes, you start another inquiry:
I haven’t written anything more about the topic. Yet at the same time, it is something which is put in our face every time the media (TV) runs an item on domestic violence and finishes with the advice to call (such and such agency) if “you are troubled by violent or abusive behaviour from your partner”. Which leaves everyone thinking that at least some help is available for (all) victims of domestic behaviour. But it’s not so.
Most agencies in the domestic violence sector will either turn male callers away or will (officially) cater for them, but on the (wink/nudge) understanding that they are either abusers trying to locate their partners, or are simply abusers in denial.
But now the topic of whether domestic violence help-lines actually do assist male callers has been raised again by an English researcher, Deborah Powney (Twitter id = @Firebird_psych). On 14 April 2020 Deborah began sending daily tweets as per the following:
Simple question. Shouldn’t take long to answer. And she waited. And while she did, she asked one or two further questions, for example:
“Could you provide the numbers of female perpetrators you have helped in the past 12 month? Could also provide the number of female perpetrator programmes that Respect have accredited in the same time period?” (To @RespectUK on 29 April 2020)
It took until 15 May 2020 before Deborah received an initial response.
“Hi, the National Domestic Abuse Helpline is branded as a women’s helpline, however if we do receive calls from men the Helpline our staff will always listen, risk assess, address any safeguarding issues and validate the experience. They will then refer them to the Men’s Advice Line which provides specialist support for men.”
Deborah responded the same day, as follows: “Thank you for your response. Just to clarify – you do not help male victims at all – other than ‘immediate’ referal to the @RespectUK men’s helpline. Is that correct?”
@RefugeCharity further responded (also 15 May 2020)
“Hi, the National Domestic Abuse Helpline is branded as a women’s helpline, however if we do receive calls from men the Helpline our staff will always listen, risk assess, address any safeguarding issues and validate the experience. The national domestic abuse helpline, which Refuge runs, is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days week. If male callers contact us, we refer them immediately to the men’s advice line, which is a specialist service for male victims of domestic abuse. They will then refer them to the Men’s Advice Line which provides specialist support for men.”
On 15 May 2020 Deborah then asked:
“Can @RefugeCharity@ukhomeoffice be clear what support the 24 hour National DA Helpline gives to male victims of domestic abuse when the @RespectUK taxpayer- funded “Men’s Advice Line” is closed (from either 5pm or 8pm weekdays to 9am & weekends) @nicolejacobsST@pritipatel”
@martintandc @RespectUK @JoTodd4 Could you clearly explain why you make specific reference to male terrorists in your Toolkit for working with Male Victims of domestic abuse for the Men’s Advice Line? @nicolejacobsST @pritipatel @ukhomeoffice @mankind @MartinDaubney @PhilipDaviesUK
“For instance, the biggest denominator in acts of terrorism and mass killings is that almost all of the perpetrators are men. Women suffer mental illness at roughly the same rate as men, but almost none commit large-scale violence. Similarly, the levels of suicide for men are much greater then for women, because of social pressure on men not to seek help to deal with their emotional problems”. (Source)
From reading this material it seems obvious to me that staff in the relevant agencies had not considered how male callers were being dealt with, let alone how they should be dealt with. The topic was not even ‘on the radar’ as it was seemingly seen to be unimportant, and offering to assist men at all was seen as merely a token gesture.
You might wish to now refer to Deborah’s Twitter account to see if any further responses have been received from government, domestic violence industry, or readers.
(Some information about Deborah’s current research project regarding the experience of male victims of domestic violence can be found here.)
“Applications for our MBA scholarship with @Sydney_Business close this Monday 11 May. Don’t miss your chance. Apply today” (linked information)
Each of these scholarships is worth over $60,000 and is “to recognise outstanding leadership, with a commitment to enhancing women’s rights and opportunities”.
I then wrote to ‘Anti-Discrimination NSW‘ using the survey facility on this page of their web site. Their response, dated 12 May 2020, is provided below. Curiously this communication was marked ‘Private and Confidential’, the significance of which which I am now seeking clarification. I also sent a query to the Uni of Sydney Business School and others earlier via Twitter, to which I am yet to receive a response.
“I refer to you enquiry received via the community response survey on our website on the 11 May 2020 concerning the University of Sydney offering a scholarship to women only.
Exemptions under the Anti-Discrimination Act NSW 1977 (ADA)
Under the ADA there is no general special measures provision, which applies to all grounds under the Act. Rather, under the sex provisions of the ADA it provides:
Exception—genuine occupational qualification (in employment only) s.31and,
the Attorney General may grant exemptions (s.126 and s.126A).
Exemptions are granted where the purpose of a particular program or service is to achieve equality between a disadvantaged group and those who are not disadvantaged by addressing past or present disadvantage experienced by particular groups in our community.
In this sense such measures are non-discriminatory, in that they aim to redress disadvantage. That is, the purpose of such measures is achieving substantive equality, as opposed to formal equality, and these measures are critical to preventing and eliminating discrimination.
In July 2019 the University of Sydney was granted an exemption to offer, advertise, and facilitate scholarships for women only in the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, medicine, and finance for a period of ten (10) years. Please refer to our website (under the tab ‘exemptions’) for more information.
Since an exemption has been granted, the program the University of Sydney is providing is exempt from all the provisions of the ADA, so that they cannot be the subject of a complaint because they are providing services or programs designed to achieve equality and redress disadvantage experienced by particular groups in our community.”
Their second last paragraph refers me to this section of the agency’s web site, where you can note that Sydney University has been granted exemptions to provide female-only scholarships in relation to science, technology, engineering, mathematics, medicine, finance, and agriculture/environment. Looking through both this page (Section 126 exemptions) and the page for Section 126a exemptions, the most striking thing is that the overwhelming majority of exemptions granted have been in relation to female-only programs or services.
I wrote back to ‘Anti-Discrimination NSW’ to query aspects of their response:
“Thank you for your agency’s prompt and helpful response to my query to which I would now appreciate some further clarification.
1. Would you kindly advise, in relation to the exemptions granted to Sydney University, what factors you consider to confirm or verify proof of disadvantage for female students, relative to their male counterparts.
2. I have noted the pages in your web site in relation to Section 126 and Section 126a exemptions. My immediate reaction is concern regarding the overwhelming number of exemptions granted in relation to programs or services that cater only for women.
I question whether this does not, in itself, constitute proof of gender-bias by your agency. How otherwise do you justify this inequity in the light of the existing situation in Australian society?
In drafting your response to these queries you may wish to consider the information presented in the following sources:
Section 126A certification is granted by the Attorney General. Section 126A of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 provides that the Minister may certify a program or activity to be a special needs program or activity if satisfied that its purpose or primary purpose is the promotion of access, for members of a group of persons affected by any form of unlawful discrimination to which this Act applies in an area of discrimination to which this Act applies, to facilities, services or opportunities to meet their special needs or the promotion of equal or improved access for them to facilities, services and opportunities.
Under section 124A of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 it is an offence for the President or staff of Anti-Discrimination NSW to disclose information obtained during the exercise of functions under the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977.”
Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic the feminist lobby has claimed that there has been a surge* in domestic violence. (*Note that the term ‘surge’ has been well and truly overtaken by now, more recently by ‘staggering increase‘ or ‘driving a spike‘). This trend has manifested itself across several countries, with the UN Women agency being a significant player. UN Women has produced guidelines in relation to gathering data about domestic violence against women.
The feminist lobby has linked this alleged increase in violence to, in particular, the common practice of governments requiring people to quarantine in their own homes. The proof offered to support the feminist position has primarily been claimed to be significant increases in call volume to DV help-lines (largely operated by feminist NGO’s). There have also been similar claims made in relation to alleged increases in traffic to web sites dealing with the welfare of victims of DV.
In only one of the media articles I read, prior to uploading this post, was reference made to an increase in the number of calls to police. This did not relate to increases in the number of charges laid, nor punishments meted out, but rather to queries made by people concerned about a perceived threat of DV.
I would suggest, as have others, that domestic violence is the feminist lobby’s primary cash-cow. Consider too, for example, the salary of DV agency bosses such as Sandra Horley, who is reported to receive a remuneration package of more than £210,000. The British Prime Minister is currently paid approx. £155,000.
To base government policy, even just one-off hand-outs of public money, on unverified allegations, is at best naïve. And when such claims are being provided by individuals with a vested interest in promoting a public view of a problem that they assert to be large & growing. Well, one might label such vested interest ‘ideological bias’, ‘pecuniary interest’, or worse as per the flow-chart below (Source). But whatever you call it, it is by no means competent, objective, unbiased research.
It is particularly annoying that whilst the feminist-saturated domestic violence industry is loudly proclaiming a jump in violence in the home, they are maintaining their silence with respect to the reality of female-perpetrated assaults/abuse of men and children.
The other galling issue, although unrelated to Covid-19, is that I have belatedly learnt that, in the UK, the rate of women being killed by their partner was now at a 40 year low (Source). You would think that this would be shouted from the rooftops, wouldn’t you? Well, unless people sought to maintain perception of a growing epidemic. One that desperately demands further public funding.
What follows now are a series of media releases or articles dealing with the issue, presented in reverse chronological order:
No spike in home violence, police say (10 June 2020) ‘The Australian’ newspaper tells us that NSW authorities “almost doubled domestic violence checks” but found “no increase in abuse rates“.
“Professor Wendt says women are experiencing violence at a more “intense level” as they try to survive the restrictions and plan their escape as measures lift”. Needless to say, what constitutes a “more intense level” is left to the imagination, and no supporting statistics are provided to quantify intensity.
” … I have just had 50 front-line workers on a statewide forum on the phone and all of them are saying how much busier it is… and now the stats come back to prove it”. “Stats” that agency staff themselves generated … what could go wrong?
“Ms Foster said the figures were concerning because they conflicted with a recent report from the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, which found “domestic violence assaults recorded by police did not increase in March 2020, despite social distancing measures commencing … But Ms Foster said the report had sent a “dangerous message” to victims and policymakers. She said it was “irresponsible to put out a report drawing a conclusion that fears that domestic violence would increase hadn’t been realised.”
“The Queensland Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Di Farmer, said authorities across the country were grappling with an “amplification” of abuse caused by the COVID-19 outbreak and tough health restrictions.
Domestic violence crisis centres in the state have experienced a 40 per cent spike in calls for help since the start of the pandemic …”
“The most concerning statistic came from Google data, with the Federal Government seeing a 75 per cent increase in searches about family and domestic violence compared to the average number of searches over the previous five years.”
“Alison Macdonald, acting chief executive of Domestic Violence Victoria, said there was clear evidence a surge in demand was coming. “We know from international evidence that there are spikes in family violence in post emergency and post crisis situations,” she said. “We know from Australian experience with bushfires, with floods and with cyclones.”
“To estimate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on efforts to end gender-based violence, Avenir Health modelled a delay in the scale-up of prevention efforts as attention and resources are devoted to COVID-19, and an increase in violence during the period of lockdown. Assuming a slow start to the scale-up of prevention programmes (i.e., a 2-year delay in 2020 and 2021), followed by a rapid expansion of prevention programs in the middle of the decade, an estimated 2 million additional instances of intimate partner violence in 2020-2021 are expected.”
“COVID-19 pandemic is likely to cause a one-third reduction in progress towards ending gender-based violence by 2030”
“For every 3 months the lockdown continues, an additional 15 million additional cases of gender-based violence are expected”
That’s right, no police reports were used to generate predictions. It was all based on modelling. Remarkable. And of course, no mention anywhere of female perpetration.
Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic the mainstream media has been following what is by now a well-established script. That script is one that involves playing down or ignoring the negative impacts of an issue or situation on men, whilst focussing on the perceived negative impacts on women. It also involves playing up the positive contribution of one gender over the other, with regards to fixing the problem. And if this sometimes involves misrepresentation, exaggeration or even fabrication – as it invariably does – well apparently, so be it.
That article mentions “a man diagnosed with coronavirus who recently travelled to Hamilton Island“. Actually it was a woman. Until this tourist travelled there, there were no other reported cases of COVID-19 in the region. The article also mentioned that the “ABC understands the patient recently travelled from New South Wales where they were first tested.”
A regional newspaper article published on 19 March 2020 (pay-wall protected) provides further/clearer details of the incident …
“A woman admitted to Mackay Hospital on Tuesday with coronavirus defied health orders and flew to Hamilton Island after being diagnosed with novel coronavirus in Sydney. It is understood the UK tourist, in her mid-30’s, was found on a Hamilton Island beach after NSW Health authorities alerted their Queensland counterparts”.
“She is understood to have told health authorities she did not understand the directive to self-isolate after testing positive to Covid-19“.
Domestic violence – or more specifically domestic violence against women – has been one of the major gender issues appearing in the media thus far. I have addressed that issue, or at least one aspect of it, in another post.
Further items related to the impact of Covid-19 on women, and vice versa:
“It’s a free country” (12 April 2020) & in another incident … “A 20-year-old woman stopped in Port Macquarie gave police her twin sister’s details before police dropped her home with a warning. She refused to go inside, walked off, gave police the finger and was promptly handed a $1000 fine.”
But what’s going on? There appears to have been a change of feminist tactics, as this is the 2nd paper I’ve read today admitting that there had been no boost in the number of calls from DV victims since the commencement of the pandemic.
“At 9.20am yesterday, a woman was walking south along Sharp Street, Cooma, in NSW, when she allegedly stepped in front of another woman and intentionally coughed in her direction.The woman allegedly continued to cough at members of the public as she walked past them, including a woman with a young child.”
Malaysia apologises for telling women not to nag during lockdown (1 April 2020) Many recent articles express sympathy & frustration on behalf of women forced to isolate with men who (allegedly might) beat them, or at least don’t wash more dishes. But sympathise with men who have to put up with nagging or condescending women …. ooh no …that’s some serious #misogyny. Stop it now, you hear?
Tellingly, media outlets like The Guardian reported this as ‘young people’ rather than “young women”. Most of those that didn’t (initially), either amended online copy or removed it within hours of publication.
“Seriously people, this is not the time for judging, finger pointing or shaming. Our world is in uncharted territory, we are all desperately trying to filter through the mass of news we’re consuming eager to decipher what works for us and our families.”
Yes, similar to the way feminists refrain from finger-pointing at, or shaming, men. All the time. Oh please, spare us the tunnel-vision!
One surprising inclusion in the 2020 Australia Day honours list was a Member of the Order of Australia award for Bettina Arndt. It was surprising not because the recipient was undeserving (which she wasn’t), but because such public awards tend to favour those pushing politically palatable (and increasingly left of centre) causes.
You would probably be aware that Bettina is an active supporter of various issues affecting men and boys, and that this has put her in the cross-hairs of the feminist lobby on more than a few occasions.
And thus once the awards were announced, the feminist lobby went rather crazy. This has included approaches being made to the Governor-General’s office by a number of politicians, including the Victorian Attorney-General, seeking to have Bettina’s award withdrawn.
And true to form, although Bettina’s views have been described as “dangerous”, most of the media comment have focussed on her professional integrity rather than the specific issues she raises. Look for example at the Twitter stream for ‘New Matilda’ (@newmatilda) and you’ll see tweet after tweet after tweet concerning Bettina’s academic qualifications, but none addressing her views regarding (for example) an alleged campus rape culture.
Kindly read on for relevant details, including Bettina’s response to those launching the attacks on her.
One specific criticism that has been levelled at Bettina is in relation to her allegedly ‘going soft’ on paedophiles, particularly in relation to one specific interview she conducted. One of the odd things here though, is that I have yet to hear any feminist speak out about the burgeoning problem of female paedophiles. And thus more feminist hypocrisy.
“The Federal Government will launch an inquiry into the family law system, after accusations the court system is failing vulnerable Australians.
Coalition backbenchers and the crossbench, including One Nation leader Pauline Hanson, have been calling for an inquiry for some time, arguing the system is too expensive and slow.
The inquiry will be run by former social services minister and long-serving Liberal MP Kevin Andrews.” (Source)
The feminist lobby and their domestic violence industry took great umbrage at this announcement. And so it began.
The Committee’s home page can be found here, and details concerning the making of submissions can be found here.
The first specific matter that the feminists got upset about was Pauline Hanson’s reference to the practice whereby some women make false claims against their former partners in family court, esp. in relation to domestic violence and sexual assault (refer example of outrage in the media).
In terms of topics related to the treatment of victims, another issue was that of couples counselling (related article). The feminist DV Industry is generally opposed to this practice, claiming that it exposes women to additional unnecessary risk. But not everyone was of the same view (related article).
Another curious complaint from various feminist spokespersons was that there had been too many inquiries, and the proposed inquiry was both unnecessary and would delay progress. This is extraordinary given the ongoing vocal urging for more inquiries/commissions/etc despite the many state and federal inquiries that have taken place – particularly related to domestic violence. A number of these inquiries can be seen listed in the relevant section of my Table of Contents page.
Submissions to the Family Law Inquiry have now closed, and a final report is due to be submitted in October 2020.
In closing, how many, if any, of the following groups explicitly represent fathers/men and/or male victims of domestic abuse? How many have anything approaching gender equality with regards to their board and/or their staff?
Other posts in this blog that you might find relevant include:
The first gender-related issue raised in the campaign proper was the use of gender quotas to attempt to increase the number of female politicians. The emphasis here was on bashing the Liberal Party regarding its (alleged) serious ‘women problem’ (example).
Not surprisingly the issue of domestic violence soon made an appearance:
I know, it’s an aside, but I can’t help but wonder how many Australian female pollies have belted their partners, and whether their colleagues would support them in the same manner that British MP Ms Layla Moran was supported:
The next thing, the feminist lobby looked around and noticed lobbying by the Australian Better Families Party, and no doubt some of the many, many, reader’s comments being attached to pro-feminist articles in the mainstream media.
Misleading political campaigns? No thanks, we’ve had enough, by Anna Kerr (22 March 2019). Who would have thought that seeking recognition and support for male victims of domestic violence occurs because the Men’s Rights Movement “denies the gendered nature of domestic violence”? Well, Team Harpy clearly does.
What did Tuesday’s Federal Budget actually do for women? We break it down (4 April 2019) Note that ‘Domestic Violence’ is listed as something we (women) “got”, so I guess male victims shouldn’t get their hopes up then? “But on the whole, women are not the winners in this budget“. Huh? Countless millions down for women, but apparently someone else’s way better off.
And then … “Prime Minister Scott Morrison will on Saturday announce a $75 million package to help women back into the workforce after looking after their children or elderly parents.
Mr Frydenberg said career checks will be aimed at women aged 30 to 45 so they can get professional advice and training.
Sport is also on the agenda for the prime minister, who will be campaigning in Melbourne.
Mr Morrison wants to spend $70 million on upgrading sports facilities and creating high performance facilities.
He’s also promised $15 million to set up a permanent home in Melbourne for the national women’s soccer team, the Matildas. Senator McKenzie said the government wants women athletes to have high performance facilities “just like the guys do”.” (Source)
Existing party policies specifically related to gender (where one or more could be readily identified):
The Labor Party: Australian Women – Labor’s Plan for Equality. “A Shorten Labor Government will put achieving gender equality for Australian women at the centre of our priorities with a National Strategy for Gender Equality.” This translates into more than $1.2 billion in hand-outs.
In January 2019 I was blocked from the twitter stream of the CEO of NTV, Jacqui Watt, without explanation. I became aware of Jacqui’s stream via browsing the Twitter stream @OurWatch CEO, Patty Kinnersly. (Credit to Patty for not blocking me, although I am blocked from the OurWatch general account)