A newly-installed government in Victoria has announced not just an inquiry, but a Royal Commission, into domestic violence. A Royal Commission is a hugely expensive exercise which shall directly and indirectly pump lots more money into the coffers of the Australian domestic violence industry. It has been suggested that the Royal Commission will take one year and AUD$50 million to complete (Source).
Bearing in mind the findings of earlier inquiries including Queensland (only released late February 2015), plus the ongoing federal inquiry, I am highly sceptical as to the cost-effectiveness of the Victorian exercise. Even the staunchly pro-feminist advocacy group, White Ribbon Australia, have expressed similar sentiments.
The Victorian Royal Commission will be chaired by Justice Marcia Neave, with support from Deputy Commissioners Tony Nicholson and Patricia Faulkner, and will be tasked with finding the most effective ways to:
- Prevent family violence
- Improve early intervention to identify and protect those at risk
- Support victims
- Make perpetrators accountable
- Improve the way the Government and society work together
An article that appeared in the Herald-Sun began with:
“WOMEN will be given the chance to tell their harrowing stories with Australia’s first Royal Commission into Family Violence expected to begin in February.”
The author, Alex White, is thus either ignorant of the existence of male victims of DV or perhaps believes that they are simply not worth hearing from. Alex concludes with the erroneous statement, “It will be the first government backed family violence inquiry in Australia’s history.”
One only hopes, most probably in vain – that this inquiry might generate unbiased discussion leading to sensible fair and effective measures to reduce violence.
A copy of the original media release entitled ‘Nothing Off Limits in Family Violence Royal Commission‘ is here. It sounded promising, appearing as it did to be written in a gender-neutral manner.
The terms of reference are here, and unfortunately the bias emerges with old feminist clangers like:
“While both men and women can be perpetrators or victims of family violence, overwhelmingly the majority of perpetrators are men and victims are women and children.” (This statement was addressed in another blog post)
“The causes of family violence are complex and include gender inequality and community attitudes towards women” (except for the fact the couples with the greatest propensity to partner violence are lesbian couples)
“For women and children, family violence has extensive and often long term physical, psychological and emotional consequences” (for men it’s just one long holiday)
The web site for the Royal Commission is at http://www.rcfv.com.au
Update 1 June 2015: The closing date for submissions was Friday, 29 May 2015. A copy of my submission can be found here.
One woman a week dies at the hands of her partner or ex-partner. New ways of tackling domestic homicide (29 March 2015) Feminist perspective that ignores female perpetration, and which almost certainly sets the scene for the deliberations of the Royal Commission
Explainer: Victoria’s Royal Commission into Family Violence (27 February 2015)
Royal Commission into family violence terms of reference released (20 January 2015) Includes 90+ readers comments
Premier Daniel Andrews vows tough new laws to stop family violence (24 February 2015)