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 was 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 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 The current name of the plan is a ridiculous, outdated affront to the victims of abusive women/girls and their families.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?
This is a job description that appeared in the Queensland Government’s website for vacant employment positions in December 2021.
You might well ask, ‘are there any equivalent positions available in relation to the prevention of violence against men and boys?’. Dream on!
Principal Program Officer, Justice and Attorney-General, Office for Women and Violence Prevention
The Office for Women and Violence Prevention support women and girls to participate fully in the social, economic and cultural opportunities that Queensland offers; and to achieve their full potential.
We deliver services and supports that victims and their children need to be free of violence, and that ensure perpetrators are held to account for their actions and given opportunity to change their behaviour.
We also drive reform to strengthen community and whole of government responses to gendered violence by changing community attitudes and behaviours, integrating service responses and strengthening justice system responses.
“The team leads and delivers the Investing in Queensland Women grant program, utilizing tools such as Smartygrants and P2i. We lead and support Queensland Government sponsorship agreements with high profile partners such as the Women of the World Festivals and the Australian Women in Music Awards to ensure benefits are delivered for Queensland women and girls. We also liaise with community groups and organisations across Queensland to engage the community on a range of initiatives that promote and protect the rights, interests, leadership and well-being of women and girls.”
Last night the Australian Treasurer, the Hon Josh Frydenberg MP presented his Budget speech 2021-22. Nothing has changed, and nothing will change in the near future. Women were handed substantial allocations of money, whilst men and boys essentially got nothing (in terms of dedicated gender-specific grants).
Sure enough, in his lengthy speech Josh mentioned the word ‘women’ 17 times. He mentioned the word ‘men’ once … and that being in condemnation:
“On average women retire with less superannuation than men.“
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.)
Readers may also find these papers to be of interest:
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. More please, sir!
Sickeningly, the feminist lobby have recently, begrudgingly, admitted this fall in the number of female victims. But, wait for it, they say it’s only occurred as a result of women being unable to flee due to Covid lockdowns – and hence male partners don’t become enraged and kill them (Source).
Finally, “William Collins’ recently showed in his Illustrated Empathy Gap website that, contrary to claims by some domestic violence agencies, there was no tsunami of domestic violence during the first covid-19 lockdown, even though that claim had been supported by UK governments to the tune of about £150 million of extra money given to domestic violence agencies.
William Collins did something that I also had actually done: we both separately made Freedom of Information applications to the police forces in the UK, analysed the data, and found that there was no such tsunami of incidents of domestic violence. It didn’t happen. The claim was fraudulent.
This is a very important line of inquiry and it should have generated headlines all over the national media, instead of which it got no coverage at all. I found it impossible to place those findings in national media. I got no reply at all from newspapers like The Mail, The Telegraph, or from Unheard or Spiked. They simply did not even reply“, (Source)
What follows now are a series of media releases or articles dealing with the issue, presented in reverse chronological order:
“The Andrews government has announced an extra $20m for family violence prevention, citing an increase in demand for “perpetrator services” during the coronavirus pandemic. Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence Gabrielle Williams cited an 11 per cent increase since last year in calls to the Men’s Referral Service.”
Domestic violence on the rise during pandemic (13 July 2020) “The survey of 15,000 Australian women in May provides the most detailed information in the world about the prevalence and nature of domestic violence experienced by women during the pandemic.” How many men did they say were surveyed? That would be *none*
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.
“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 was due to be submitted in October 2020. On 31 August 2020, both Houses of Parliament agreed to extend the reporting date to the last sitting day in February 2021. An interim report was subsequently released on 7 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:
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)
The cornerstone of the feminist approach to domestic violence is known as the ‘Duluth Model’, which is often illustrated as follows:
The Duluth Model is “based in feminist theory positing that domestic violence is the result of patriarchal ideology in which men are encouraged and expected to control their partners”. (Source)
It is my position, and I am certainly not alone in this regard, that applying this theoretical framework to most (let alone all) incidents of domestic violence is highly misleading and inappropriate.
Further, if gender inequality is the most significant precursor in relation to domestic violence, then:
Why is the incidence of domestic violence greater in lesbian couple than in heterosexual couples?
How might one explain the already high and growing levels of female-perpetrated violence generally?
How might one explain the significant geographical variations in the incidence of domestic violence? The chart below, for example, looks at variations in the incidence of DV in the Australian state of New South Wales.
Why does there exist a very considerable number of male victims of domestic violence?
How might one explain the relatively high levels of child abuse and neglect involving single mothers?
Why is the level of domestic violence so high in countries like Sweden that, even feminists would agree, have a higher than average level of gender equality?
These categories or situations of domestic violence are not the inconsequential anomalies that many propose them to be. On the contrary, they constitute very large and substantial pieces of the domestic violence jigsaw.
In an intimate partnership between two people of different genders, an unequal balance of power can be a factor contributing to DV. But what feminists refuse to concede is that the partner asserting most power need not be male, and often isn’t.
“… the Duluth model essentially views all female transgressions as being self-defensive in nature (even against children!) and can be attributed either to previous victimization by a male or to an allegedly oppressive “patriarchy” (Dutton and Corvo, 2007)”
I would urge you to take a moment now to read Jason Dale’s detailed and insightful commentary. The quote below has been attributed to Ellen Pence (Wikipedia).
And no, in case you were wondering, there was no corresponding session to discuss what women could do to help reduce family violence.
How would this aspect of the program be interpreted by the average Joe or Josephine in-the-street? They would probably see it as implying that men were responsible for family violence, and that therefore it’s men’s duty to eradicate it.
This is the equivalent of having every man in Australia stand at the front of the classroom with a dunce’s hat on. Except the domestic violence lobby is not saying men are stupid, but that they are evil.
And this despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of men never commit acts of violence, and that male victims of domestic violence are rarely acknowledged.
Look, I understand that the basis for establishing the Tara Costigan Foundation was the tragic death of a young woman at the hands of a bestial man. That man is now in jail and sadly we cannot undo what happened to Tara. But the Summit is, or at least should be, about addressing domestic violence in its totality.
The agencies that deal with domestic violence are heavily imbued with feminist doctrine. They continue to falsely portray domestic violence as heterosexual male on female violence, despite this constituting just one slice of the pizza (albeit probably the largest one). Feminist agencies address domestic violence in the context of a theoretical approach known as the Duluth Model. The validity of the Duluth Model is hotly debated, and its success is questionable.
Why is this allowed to continue particularly considering the amount of public funds being expended, and the miserable progress being made?
The situation in the U.K is similar to Australia in this regard, but some progress is being made via vigorous lobbying by groups and individuals such as GenderFreeDV and Philip Davies MP.
Here is Australia we have balanced views on DV being expressed by a small but dedicated number of journalists such as Bettina Arndt, Miranda Devine, and Corrine Barraclough. As far as sitting politicians go however, there is little cause for optimism just at the moment. One outcome of this situation is that there is almost no funding provided at all for male victims of domestic violence – or indeed for addressing men’s/boys issues generally.
Please can someone finally take some real leadership on this issue?
I did not attend the Summit and await the report that is to be prepared for submission to the government. I will re-visit this post at that time and make any necessary adjustments. In the interim I stand ready to be corrected by an organiser or an attendee if what I have stated is in error. Should such a person wish to detail their experience at this event please submit a comment below.
“The Men’s Referral Service provides telephone counselling and referrals for Australian men impacted by family violence.” (Source)
The Men’s Referral Service (‘MRS’) web site does not provide any information about the management of MRS nor its legal or financial details. Readers are informed that:
“The Men’s Referral Service is a service of No To Violence, Male Family Violence Prevention Association (NTV). Find out more about NTV.”
Further details regarding MRS can however be accessed in their ACNC register entry, including their constitution, list of directors, and financial returns. The most recent financial report (year ending 30 June 2015) showed annual income of just over $2 million, of which just under $1.7 million was received in the form of government grant/s. The biggest single expense, just over $1.7 million, was listed as “staffing costs”.
Whilst the material provided in the MRS web site provides some pretence about their interest and involvement in supporting male victims of domestic violence, they are very much a pro-feminist organisation whose primary interest is the isolation and treatment of abusive men.
The MRS was recently thrust into the limelight as a result of a decision by feminist NSW Minister, Pru Goward, to award them an extremely lucrative grant ($13 million over 4 years) to ostensibly provide support services for male victims of domestic violence.
That ill-judged decision was discussed in some detail in this Nov 2016 article by Bettina Arndt, and also in this media release from the One in Three advocacy group – which I would recommend that you now take a moment to read.
This news came some time after the original media release announcing the availability of funding for male victims of domestic violence. This was much- applauded at the time by individuals opposed to the gender-biased nature in which government grants had been dispensed up to that point in time:
“For the first time in NSW, male victims of domestic and family violence will receive dedicated support, NSW Attorney General Gabrielle Upton and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Pru Goward announced today.
“As part of a record investment in domestic and family violence prevention, the 2016-17 Budget included $13.3 million over four years to make it easier and faster for men and boys to get help when they need it,” Ms Upton said.” (Source)
Thus this has been very much a case of two steps forward and one step back in terms of achieving a reasonable and equitable level of support for male victims of domestic violence.
*To learn the meaning of the term Clayton’s see here