The Australian Government is developing a National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children 2022-2032 to replace the existing National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010–2022.
The deadline for public submissions is 25 February 2022.
“The draft National Plan has been developed through consultation with victim-survivors, specialist services, representatives from the health, law and justice sectors, business, and community groups, all levels of government and other experts. This consultation opportunity builds upon previous consultations including:
- The House Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs Inquiry into family, domestic and sexual violence
- Two surveys through DSS Engage – Developing the next National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children (closed) and National Summit on Women’s Safety (closed)
- Targeted virtual workshops held with experts in their fields
- Interviews and small group discussions investigating specific issues in detail
- A focussed victim-survivor advocate consultation
- The National Summit on Women’s Safety
- Two national advisory bodies: the National Plan Advisory Group and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Council on family, domestic and sexual violence.” (Source)
I prepared a brief submission using the online questionnaire format which was relatively quick and painless, however I couldn’t easily save a copy to reproduce on this page.
Below are just some notes that I made earlier on in the process:
Let’s start nice and simple with a word search of the draft Plan looking for the terms ‘male victim’ and/or ‘female perpetrator’ and/or ‘abusive women’. How about a reference to the best known/established Australian organisation that represent male victims of domestic violence, the One in Three group? And what about the important term ‘bilateral violence’? Ok, surprise, surprise, no hits anywhere there.
Normally these sort of documents begin with a section entitled ‘What is domestic violence?’, and then trot out the tired claim that ‘whilst sometimes men may be victims of domestic violence, the overwhelming majority of domestic violence is perpetrated by men against women’ (and then aim to use this as justification for ignoring male victims for the remainder of the document). The draft Plan gets around that believability problem by entitling the relevant section as ‘What is violence against women and children?’, creating the impression that domestic violence is limited to that one form of action or behaviour. (Page 10)
The first modification of the Plan that I requested was a change in its name to the ‘National Plan to Reduce Domestic Violence in the Community’ (or similar). The current name of the plan is a ridiculous, outdated affront to the victims of abusive women/girls and their families.
Next, the draft Plan features a section identified as “Drivers of violence against women and children” (Page 12), wherein the authors note:
Violence against women is not caused by any single factor. However, Australia’s national guide to prevent violence against women, Change the Story, sets out that violence against women has distinct gendered drivers. Evidence points to four factors that most consistently predict or drive violence against women and explain its gendered patterns.
- Driver 1: Condoning of violence against women.
- Driver 2: Men’s control of decision-making and limits to women’s independence in public and private life.
- Driver 3: Rigid gender stereotyping and dominant forms of masculinity.
- Driver 4: Male peer relations and cultures of masculinity that emphasise aggression, dominance and control.
The primary driver of violence against women is gender inequality, however this also intersects with other forms of discrimination and disadvantage that can marginalise people and make it more likely that some groups of women and children will experience greater levels of violence than others.
But what of two factors that studies have shown to be absolutely seminal – although not in feminist-conducted research – in their influence with regards to fostering domestic violence? These are the initiation and routine use of violence by the female partner, and the childhood experiences of parental neglect and abuse of those people who become adult male abusers?