Let’s hope the new DV ministry in New South Wales achieves something more than a triumph of pandering to the feminist lobby

Now that Mike Baird has been re-elected he is moving forward with the first of his election promises. One such promise was the creation of a new ministry, and he has just appointed Pru Goward as the first ever ‘Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault‘.

Whilst some – most notably those on the payroll of the Domestic Violence Industry – are praising this is an appropriate response to the level of public concern about violent crime, others like myself are highly sceptical.

My take on this move is that it is motivated partly by the desire to be ‘seen to be doing something’, and partly as a sop to the feminist lobby. Surely only the most hard-line feminist could seriously believe that creating a new ministry will, in itself, make any significant difference in the ongoing quest to reduce the incidence of sexual/domestic violence?

affect

So how about we take our foot off the ‘we spend because we care’ pedal, and pause a moment to ponder questions such as:

What more can be achieved with a new minister/ministry, than could be achieved in the absence of such changes? Is this administrative change really necessary in terms of delivering the sorts of tangible benefits that the community wants?

If there exists a sincere belief that a new ministry will expedite progress then, using the same logic, why not create a Minister for Reducing Traffic Accidents and/or Minister for Finding a Cure for Cancer?

Will this new initiative to anything to help break down the current substantial extent of gender bias which has seen both domestic violence and sexual assault portrayed as women’s problems with men as their root cause? Will, finally, serious attention be given to female perpetrators and their male victims?

How much will the creation of a new Ministry cost? Will it be cost-effective?

On that last point I can tell you that the costs of such a seemingly simple administrative change will far exceed what most people would imagine. I would guesstimate this to be in the low hundreds of thousands of dollars. And I think I can safely state that, barring perhaps an FOI request, you will NOT subsequently read about this impost in the media.

What then are some of these additional costs that are about to be borne by the taxpayers of NSW?

  • Creation of new corporate logo
  • Design and printing of business cards for all employees
  • Design, production and installation of new building/office signage
  • Production of new stationary, brochures and other printed material
  • Production of new corporate gifts and products such as coffee mugs with logo, etc
  • The destruction/disposal of pre-existing stationary, corporate livery, etc
  • Updating of web site and any other online presence
  • Employment of new staff/redeployment of existing staff/redundancies

Bear in mind, please, that each dollar spent (wasted) to pay for the creation of a new ministry means one less dollar available to actually address the central issues of concern … reducing domestic violence, and treating/supporting its perpetrators and victims.

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Dubious public policy borne from the denial of female violence

Whilst browsing the daily news I came across an article entitled Domestic violence register to protect women who fear their partners’ past (6 March 2015)

(If you haven’t already read my blog post about violent behaviour by women, then now would be a good time to do so)

Mike Baird (Premier of New South Wales, Australia) has proposed the establishment of a register of violent men. The intention is that potential female partners can check to see if their ‘person of interest’ has a track-record of abuse.

Mike’s proposal is based on a system now operating in the United Kingdom, known as Clare’s Law. Thus far I have been unable to locate any serious analysis of the efficacy of the UK system. The Premier has promised to introduce the system if re-elected. Has his staff determined that the proposed system would be likely to be effective? To be cost-effective? Does he really care? Or is the perceived potential for electoral mileage sufficient to justify a scheme that will no doubt involve a considerable outlay of taxpayer dollars?

“It is understood the list will first be made up only of men convicted of a charge of domestic assault, but the government will consider extending this to men who are the subject of an ADVO after consultation with the Justice Department.

Safeguards will be put in place so that people asking if someone is on the register have to prove they are in a domestic relationship.”

At this stage the operational details are unclear and many questions remain unanswered. For example:

How would women prove that they are in a relationship with the man in question?

What measures would be taken to prevent men being listed on the basis of false allegations?

How much will the register cost to establish and maintain, and will such a service significantly affect the rates of perpetration of domestic violence? Or will it, in fact, make any difference at all?

It is of concern that a political leader would contemplate such a ‘service’ without thought being given to the fairness and desirability of including violent women. That this fellow has done so demonstrates just how far under the spell of feminism our leaders seem to have fallen. And unfortunately the NSW opposition party offers the community no better alternative in this regard.

The proposal is sexist and discriminatory in that it reinforces the negative and inaccurate stereotype that domestic violence consists entirely of men abusing women, and that women do not perpetrate violence.

The proposal is sexist and discriminatory in that it denies to men whatever limited protection the register might provide to women.

It may well be that after Mike’s proposal has been subject to proper analysis and consultation, it will be found to be non-viable. If it is to proceed, however, then the records of everyone with a history of violence must be made accessible.

“Premier Mike Baird and Minister for Women Pru Goward said the groundbreaking registry, announced on Friday, would be set up if they win the state election on March 28. “Quite frankly, I’m sick of excuses,” Mr Baird said“.

Well quite frankly I’m sick of politicians pandering to the feminist movement by diverting millions of dollars of public funds each year either directly to feminist organisations, or towards projects for which they demand public funding. Feminists whose voices, by the way, represent less than one in five Australian women.

My concerns would be mitigated if, at the end of the day, there were clear benefits for the Australian community. More often than not, however, the outcome is one that sees the Government achieve very little with regard to the problem/s that they originally claimed they set out to address. Conversely, the collateral damage and the wasted opportunities that result from such a course of action are not inconsequential. No matter, the next news cycle will no doubt provide some convenient diversion.

Update 2 April 2015: Mike Baird was re-elected and has now appointed feminist Pru Goward as the first ever ‘Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault’

Update 22 May 2015: The NSW Government has released a discussion paper on the DV register concept. The receipt of public submissions in relation to this document ended on 19 June 2015. I provided a submission noting, amongst other things, my concern that the discussion paper did not explicitly state that both men and women were to be included in the register.

See also:

Queensland ‘initiative’ referred to here as an ‘Alternative Reporting Option’ (June 2018) I would imagine that there would be plenty of scope for abuse here

UK experience of domestic violence disclosure schemes is a cautionary tale for Australia (12 October 2016)

Violent offenders registers sound good, but are a costly, unproven distraction (8 July 2015)

Police call for family violence offender register (1 July 2015)

Is Michigan’s sex offender registry actually protecting us? (26 May 2015)

Early warning scheme for domestic violence (21 May 2015)

NSW domestic violence register to expose potential abusers (20 May 2015)

Put DV abusers on national register (14 March 2015) Features some interesting readers comments. The author, Wendy Tuohy, claims that the register will include violent women but I have been unable to obtain official confirmation of this. Even Mike Baird’s original media release is quite ambiguous on this point.

NSW state election 2015: Mike Baird beefs up domestic violence and sexual assault laws (6 March 2015)

Domestic violence register could lead to increased not guilty pleas, privacy experts warn (6 March 2015)

Video item on the proposal as featured in the ‘Sunrise’ TV show which has generated a large number of viewer comments with a definite majority being supportive of the inclusion of violent women on the register

Domestic violence register won’t work: ALP (6 March 2015)

Sex offender registers often get raised in conversations about domestic violence registers – so here is an article on that topic: Sex Offender Registries (SOR’s): Time for a change (16 August 2014)

Clare’s Law: a violation of our private lives (28 November 2013)

Now people can be told of their partner’s violent past thanks to new law named after tragic murder victim (8 March 2014)

Clare’s Law: a simple solution, or more confusion? (25 November 2013)

Epidemic of Restraining / Protection Order Abuse by women against innocent men (31 July 2013) USA

Baird promises domestic violence minister (6 March 2015) Google ‘affectatious‘. How about a Minister for Road Safety? Minister for Prevention of Substance Abuse?