In October 2015 the Premier of Queensland, Annastacia Palaszczuk, was quoted as saying that more should be done for male victims of domestic violence. At the time I wondered if this was mere lip service to test the PR waters … or was there actually something tangible in the pipeline? Many people, including myself, earnestly hoped for the latter.
And so on 2 December 2015 when the Queensland Government issued a media release regarding the provision of additional accommodation for victims of domestic violence, I was cautiously optimistic. That media release was entitled ‘New shelters opening for domestic violence victims‘
Well, for the sake of accuracy the title of that media release should have included the word ‘female’ before the word ‘victims’. There are many male victims of domestic violence, and yet there was nothing for them in this latest allocation of public funding.
Here are some extracts from that media release:
Two new 72-hour crisis shelters for women and children fleeing domestic violence will be opened in December.
Minister for Communities and Women, Shannon Fentiman and Minister for Housing and Public Works Leeanne Enoch said the two shelters – located in Brisbane and Townsville – will be open and accessible 24 hours a day.
Minister Fentiman announced in February that the two shelters would be established as the first commitment to a recommendation in the Not Now, Not Ever report.
“When women make the brave decision to leave a violent relationship, we must make sure we have the support and services there to help,” Ms Fentiman said.
“These new shelters will give women and children a secure haven where they can feel safe and get the professional support they need to start afresh.
“Shelter staff will link women with specialist services to provide support until they have safe, stable housing in place, as well as connecting them with ongoing support about court, health or other issues.”
“The new services will also provide mobile support to any women still needing to be placed in motels.” …
“One of the unique aspects of these shelters is they will cater for pets, which was a recommendation from the Not Now, Not Ever report, given women in violent situations can also have threats made against their pets.” …
The Department for Housing is also providing $21.8 million in 2015-16 for 56 specialist homelessness services to help women and children escaping domestic violence across Queensland.”
Male victims of domestic violence, who also sometime flee with their children, also need emergency accommodation and support services. As far as I am aware there are no beds in DV refuges available for men in Queensland, only beds in homeless shelters. These two types of facilities are not one and the same.
Minister Fentiman, why have the needs of male victims yet again been ignored despite the Premier being on record as stating that more needs to be done for them?
Will the Minister advise me that support is provided to women because the “overwhelming majority of DV victims are female“? Will she then throw in a sop about an increase in funding for Mensline, a telephone service about which feedback has been appalling?
The sum total of assistance provided by Mensline to men, many themselves victims of violence, is referral to an anger management program. See both this post and this one for background regarding the pronounced gender bias displayed by this and similar ‘help’ lines.
Despite a budget of almost $200 million, as of September 2016 the Palaszczuk Government has yet to provide any tangible targeted support for male victims of domestic violence, nor any program/s to address the needs of female perpetrators of violent or abusive behaviour.
Nothing. Nada. What a disgrace.
“Ms Fentiman said the Palaszczuk Government has provided $1.1 million to Micah Projects to deliver the Safer Lives Mobile Support Service for 12 months, which has helped more than 800 women and 350 children over the last six months.
“This program has helped to increase the safety of women and children and the accountability of perpetrators,” Ms Fentiman said.
“Importantly, the service has also secured an agreement with Centrelink so women in motels due to domestic and family violence can access crisis payments.”
Micah Projects also receives more than $1.7 million to deliver additional domestic and family violence responses, including a perpetrator program.”
‘Queensland domestic violence services get $6m boost‘ (15 January 2016)
Just how much of this allocation will be directed to supporting male victims of domestic violence Minister? Aside from more sexist and discriminatory screening of male callers to Mensline, any of it ay all?