Entries in Mythbusters: Family Violence (8)


The Guardian Australia corrects domestic violence article

In an article titled "Quentin Bryce urges focus on gender inequality to tackle domestic violence", published on April 6th, Guardian journalist Melissa Davey claimed that "Two women are killed through domestic violence in Australia every week, and it is also the leading preventable cause of injury and death in women under 45, according to VicHealth".

Men's Health Australia wrote to the Guardian explaining the following:

  • The latest data from the Australian Institute of Criminology found that, during the period 2010 to 2012, 121 females were killed by an offender with whom they shared a domestic relationship (1.2 per week). This rate would have to almost double to reach the two per week claim made by Davey.
  • The VicHealth data is also seriously misrepresented. They found that intimate partner violence is the biggest contributor to ill health and premature death in women aged 15–44. 82% of this burden of disease was from poor mental health (depression and anxiety) and substance abuse, while just 2.3% was from homicide and 0.7% from physical injury. The leading cause of death for Australian women 15-44 years is malignant neoplasms, and the leading cause of injury is "other unintentional injuries".

Congratulations are due to the Guardian, who have now corrected the article in question.

The article now reads as follows:

"On average at least one woman is killed as a result of domestic violence in Australia every week, and it is the biggest contributor to preventable ill-health and premature death in women under 45, according to VicHealth."

The Guardian also published a footnote reading:

"This article was amended on 16 April to correct the reported rate at which women are killed by intimate partners. Women die this way in Australia at the rate of slightly more than one a week, according to Australian Institute of Criminology statistics – 109 in 2010-11 and 2011-12 combined. Unofficial figures for the first few months of 2015 show a similar rate."

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Domestic violence study ‘flawed’ say men’s health advocates

A national coalition of men’s health advocates has made a formal complaint to the UNSW Ethics Committee about an ‘online study of young people’s attitudes towards domestic and family violence’ that it appears to have approved.

The complaint states the survey on which the research is to be based is gender-biased, poorly formulated and misleading. It cannot achieve its stated aims and any consequent findings will be unreliable and are likely to mislead the public.

The study, being conducted by the Gendered Violence Research Network at UNSW, the White Ribbon Campaign and Youth Action NSW, states it intends to represent a follow up on research conducted in 1999 by the Crime Research Centre.

Men’s Health Australia has lodged a complaint with the Ethics Secretariat at UNSW, asking the committee to consider withdrawal of approval for the project in its current form.

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Male victims of family violence face gap in services and need special consideration: NSW Government report

The NSW Government Legislative Council’s Standing Committee on Social Issues this week released their report on domestic violence trends and issues in NSW: the first ever to acknowledge the existence, needs, barriers to reporting and barriers to accessing support faced by male victims of family violence. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, more than 100,000 men in NSW have experienced violence from their partner.

Greg Andresen, Senior Researcher for the One in Three Campaign said, “This courageous report heralds a new era of gender equity by the NSW Government by finally acknowledging the forgotten one-third of victims of family violence: men and boys.”

The findings of the report include:

  • “There was a broad recognition among inquiry participants that women offenders and male victims do exist” (p.218). “Of [reported] victims of domestic assault in 2010, 69.2% were female, while 30.8% were male.” (p.28)
  • “Male victims have been much less visible and able to access supports than should be the case” (p.xxiv)
  • “The experience of [males]... is equally as bad as that of other victims” (p.xxxii)
  • Recognising “the gap in services for male victims and [encouraging] the government to examine how services can most appropriately be provided to male victims of domestic violence” (p.xxxii)
  • Identifying males as “in need of special consideration with regard to domestic violence,” along with Aboriginal people, older people, people with disability, and several other population groups (p.89).

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What about the men? White Ribbon, men and violence: a response to Dr Michael Flood by Men’s Health Australia

The White Ribbon Foundation is an organisation that works to prevent male violence towards women – a goal that is extremely worthy and worth supporting. The White Ribbon website states that “all forms of violence are unacceptable,” however in 2009 the organisation issued a document to it’s male Ambassadors which used erroneous ‘facts and statistics’ to downplay, diminish and report incorrectly about male victims of violence. These Ambassadors use federal government funding to take the White Ribbon message into regional, rural and remote communities. These significant errors could have led the Ambassadors, and through them the general public via federal funding, to be misled about the nature and dynamics of interpersonal violence in Australia.

Some of the dangerous myths about violence circulated in the document include claims that men are less likely than women to experience violence within family and other relationships; that we don’t yet know the impact of violence on men’s overall health; and that there is no evidence that male victims are less likely to report domestic violence than are female victims.

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One in Three Campaign publishes analysis of Position Paper by the Women’s Council (WA)

In August 2010, the Women’s Council for Domestic and Family Violence Services (WA) published their Position Paper in response to the Intimate Partner Abuse of Men research report commissioned by the Men’s Advisory Network and conducted by Edith Cowan University. The One in Three Campaign's just-published analysis examines in detail the claims made in the Women’s Council Position Paper. Most of the claims are not supported by evidence. They appear to have been made in an attempt to maintain the status quo that has existed for many years in Australia whereby male victims of domestic and family violence are downplayed or ignored; hence few services if any are provided to assist them and their children.

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