Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Family Violence consultation paper bias

Today announcements will be made about how police and justice handle family violence. Belatedly I took a look at the consultation document.

There are 4 case studies. Below I have given you just the first paragraph of each:


Protection orders – Accessibility
Lisa has been living with her partner Todd for over a year. Lisa is becoming increasingly scared by Todd’s behaviour towards her. He has a temper and is quick to yell and curse at Lisa, and has threatened to hurt her.


Safety and parenting arrangements for children
After months of criticising and threatening to hurt her, Olivia’s husband Nathan
grabs her throat and tries to strangle her. The next day, while Nathan is out visiting friends, she leaves with their two sons and moves in with her parents.She applies for and is granted a protection order, which prevents Nathan from having any contact with her.


Prosecuting psychological violence
Yuki and Sefu have been together for six years. Yuki is a fulltime mum to their eighteen-month-old daughter Violet. Sefu is outgoing, charming and has many friends. Within a few months of moving in together he begins to criticise Yuki and lose his temper with her. He accuses her of lying to him about where she is going and who she is with. He often puts her down in public.


Information sharing
One of Dr Evan’s patients, Mark, seems agitated. When Dr Evan asks Mark what’s wrong, he says his partner Miriama ‘needs to be taught a lesson’ for going out to a movie with her friends. Dr Evan is worried about what Mark is thinking of doing. She knows that under the Privacy Act she can disclose
personal information if she thinks it’s necessary to prevent a serious threat to someone’s life or health. But she’s not sure whether Mark’s comment on its own is serious enough, and she doesn’t want to lose Mark’s trust. In the end she decides it’s better not to tell anyone.

My interest in this matter was piqued by the Prime Minister on TV this morning talking about stopping violence against women and children.

Sure enough, in the consultation document in the section that describes family violence as it relates to the genders, 'women' are put with 'children', and 'men' are on their own.

An increasing number of countries have developed strategies specifically aimed at reducing violence against women and children. The strategies typically include measures to address a range of forms of violence against women and children, including intimate partner violence and sexual violence. They emphasise the need for responses to recognise the gendered nature of these forms of violence and the influence of social attitudes about the status of women on the incidence and nature of violence.

There is no acknowledgement that women also abuse children.

I have worked with men who were awarded the custody of their children because of abusive partners. I accept they form a minority. But for the purposes of this exercise, they may as well be invisible.

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