Yes, just when you thought we had seen (and paid for) the last federal or state government inquiry into domestic violence, at least for a couple of years, apparently we need another one. Well more specifically, the lawyers and feminist DV lobbyists need another one.
But of course we already know what the likely findings and recommendations will be. If I just told them then why couldn’t they save the time and just give me a million dollars now. Either way there would still be a lot of fat left for feminist groups by way of paying them to ‘help’ implement the ‘solution’.
This newer, brighter, better inquiry is being undertaken by the New South Wales Government in Australia. This exercise is called the ‘Blueprint for the domestic and family violence response in NSW’. Here is a web page that provides some details and has links to further information. From that page we learn:
“As part of the It Stops Here: the Domestic and Family Violence Framework for Reform, the NSW Government is developing a Blueprint to improve responses to victims and perpetrators of domestic and family violence (DFV) in NSW (‘the DFV Blueprint’).”
More information at:
Baird government’s $60m package targets domestic violence (14 October 2015)
Domestic and Family Violence Package Fact Sheet (October 2015)
The deadline for submissions is 5 February 2016. Please prepare a submission if you are able. My submission now follows:
Submission in relation to the ‘Blueprint for the Domestic and family violence response in NSW’
Thank you for according me the opportunity to contribute my thoughts about the development of public policy in relation to domestic violence, as this is a topic I feel quite passionate about.
The current situation is one where we have had one particular approach adopted to tackle domestic violence for many years now. It is strongly influenced by feminist ideology and its theoretical underpinning is the ‘Duluth Model’. Countless millions of dollars have been directed towards pursuing this approach yet all would agree that the outcome has been disappointing.
Not only has the incidence of DV not been reduced, but there has been a system-wide failure to acknowledge (let alone seriously address) the incidence of both bi-lateral and female-perpetrated violence, as well as the extent of male victimisation.
In any other field of public policy there would be demands for a greater accountability in both the allocation and expenditure of funds. There would be demands for the uniform introduction of measures such as performance reviews and auditing. People would be encouraged to contribute new and different ideas, and there might well be demands to trial alternative approaches.
Instead, the response to this situation from those in the DV advocacy sphere has been simply to ask for more public funding. Further, those who question the validity or effectiveness of existing failed approaches and/or who propose alternative approaches – are widely attacked and labelled as being anti-women and as misogynists.
To my mind feminist ideology is not precious, but human life is. I would propose that we start a fresh chapter where we acknowledge DV in its entirety and address it in an objective and disciplined manner, unencumbered by myths, dogma, preconceptions or gender bias.
These myths I mention are encapsulated in statements such as:
· The overwhelming majority of victims of DV are women
· Women only commit acts of domestic violence in self-defence, and
· Women are more seriously affected by DV than men
I’ll turn my attention now to the contents of your consultation paper, and to those specific questions posed within it:
Page 5 ‘Preventing DFV by addressing its underlying causes’
People should be made aware that the true nature of the “underlying causes” of DV is subject to considerable debate. Feminists have one view, but there are other valid alternatives. You might also mention that the effectiveness of some of the strategies you list here (for e.g. awareness campaigns) is also hotly-debated, in part because of the lack of rigorous performance review and audit procedures.
It is critically important that, whilst formulating your policy, decision-makers retain an open mind about such issues and be open to hearing about, and discussing, alternative approaches free from any ideologically-motivated censorship.
The current feminist/Duluth Model approach has failed to reduce DV. The only success it can claim is that more women are reporting abuse, which may or may not mean the incidence of DV is increasing. Men are still far less likely to report abuse than women, the effect of which is to further mask the incidence of female abusers.
In any other (less politically polarised) field of public policy the current approach would have been discarded as ineffective many years ago. There must be a better way forward – even if feminists might initially be very much opposed to it.
The paragraph beginning with ‘Early intervention support services …’ already seems to suggest ideological blinkers are in place by implying that the victims of DV are female. Why for example is there no mention of ‘fathers groups’ or ‘support services for at-risk people/groups’?
More specifically, you seem to adopt a gender-neutral approach in relation to perpetrators, but not victims. Again I would urge you to adopt gender-neutral terminology throughout your paper, and in the policies that subsequently emerge from it.
Page 6. I believe that it would be desirable to clearly state here that both victims and perpetrators can be (and are) male, female and transgender, as well as being both heterosexual and homosexual.
You should also address the fact that to date, services for perpetrators such as intensive counselling are rarely if ever made available to female perpetrators.
This is in part due to the failure to acknowledge the incidence and seriousness of female-perpetrated violence, and the widely-held view that violence against women is inherently far more serious an issue than violence against men. This occurs despite that fact that men, overall, are far more likely to be the victims of violence.
Related issues are addressed at:
Page 7 Q1. I believe that the current shotgun approach to awareness campaigns (i.e. aiming the message at everyone in the community) is of a very dubious value, having been compromised by the lack of independent review and valuation as well as ideological bias.
I have discussed this in my post at http://www.fighting4fair.com/
I believe that respectful relationship programs in schools are likewise of dubious value in their current gender-biased format, and in fact may even prove to be counter-productive.
I have addressed this issue at http://www.fighting4fair.com/
To be believed and to be acted upon the message must be honest in acknowledging that DV is NOT a gendered issue, and that there are substantial numbers of both male and female perpetrators, and male and female victims.
Many people are now aware for example that domestic violence is most common in lesbian couples, then in heterosexual couples, and then male gay couples. To send out a message that says or implies otherwise is to lose ones credibility at the outset.
Q2. Early intervention. There is a need to provide help lines and counselling services that are gender neutral and do not presuppose guilt, or the nature of the situation, based on the gender of the person seeking advice. That this now occurs on a widespread basis is a disgrace. It needlessly demonises men (of which 98%+ are never violent), and greatly discourages people from seeking assistance. See the following posts on this issue:
Q3. Support the safety and recovery of victims
First and foremost there needs to be dedicated refuge/shelter accommodation for both men and women, including those men who flee with their children. These facilities should be professionally managed and subject to performance reviews and spot-checks.
Conflicts of interests should be avoided and, for example, an arms-length relationship should be enforced between those developing government policy, and the recipients of related funding. See
Funding should also be provided to organisations, such as ‘One in Three’, that advocate for the welfare of men and boys victimised by DV and/or provide direct services to victimised men/boys. At the moment I am not aware of any funding directed towards such groups, and indeed both feminist spokespersons and feminist organisations actively oppose the allocation of funds for this purpose. They do so for example, by attacking/shaming relevant groups and individuals, and by misrepresenting relevant studies and statistics that identify the incidence of male victimisation:
Q4. Perpetrator accountability
As you will see when reading through the articles and papers listed in the various blog posts I have mentioned here, female perpetrators are basically ‘let off the hook’ except in the most serious and violent of cases.
The literature in the web sites of advocacy groups implies that all perpetrators are male, men are usually the ones arrested/removed when police attend a domestic dispute, women are less likely to be charged, and if charged the punishment is likely to be less than in the case of a male.
This sends entirely the wrong message to abusive women and their victims. In the first instance they are less likely to see themselves as having a problem, and to seek help. In the latter case victims are less likely to report abuse and/or seek help thinking that they will not be believed (and even if they are no practical assistance will be forthcoming).
Gender equality, in which I am a firm believer, means that men’s and women’s lives are of equal value, and that men and women should be treated equally before the law, and elsewhere.