Domestic Violence in Australia; an Overview of Current Partner Violence

by  Sole Fathers United Inc. Assoc. 2016: Tyrell J Moore

Within our Indigenous Culture both men’s and women’s business are equally respected and we unite as a community with one voice. I hope to see this proactive and positive aspect of our culture expanded to the wider community within Australia.

Domestic violence is a major issue in Australia and has received substantial coverage from the media and by both Federal and State Governments through funding allocations in recent years.

The Turnbull Government in 2015 allocated $100,000,000 to combat the issue of Domestic Violence and the Victorian Government allocated $100,000 for pets fleeing domestic violence in 2015. More recently the Victorian Government has allocated $572,000,000 for domestic violence services. Many of the press releases have indicated that these packages are for women and children or for male perpetrators. It is important that victims receive the support they require and that perpetrators of family violence are held accountable for their actions.

What has to date been lacking, is recognition and specifically designed support for men/fathers and their children who find themselves to be victims of domestic violence. In Australia there are no “in person” counselling services, emergency accommodation nor transitional housing specifically designed to support male victims of domestic violence and their children.

National Institute of Criminology

The National Institute of Criminology report (May 15, 2015) on domestic/family homicide in Australia found that 40% of domestic homicide victims were male and 60% were female between 2002-03 and 2011-12. These victims included Intimate partner, filicide, parricide, siblicide, and other family homicides. Of the intimate partner homicides there were 166 (25%) male victims and 488 (75%) female victims[1].

Indigenous Family Violence

NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research data from 20012010 indicate that the rate of domestic assault reported to police is more than six times higher for Indigenous women than for non-Indigenous women. Indigenous males are also over-represented as victims when compared to non-Indigenous males, with a rate four times higher[2].

Australian Bureau of Statistics, Personal Safety Survey 2012

Violence

The Australian Bureau of Statistics, Personal Safety Survey (ABS, PSS) of 2012 indicates that in the 12 months prior to the survey an estimated 51,800 men (0.6% of all men aged 18 years and over) had experienced violence by a partner and 132,500 women (1.5% of all women aged 18 years and over).

  • An estimated 1.4% (119,600) men had experienced violence from a current partner and 2.7% (237,100) women had experienced violence by a current partner[3].
  • An estimated 77,800 men (65% of the 119,600 men who had experienced current partner violence) had experienced more than one incident of violence by their current partner. An estimated 154,500 women (65% of the 237,100 women who had experienced current partner violence) had experienced more than one incident of violence by their current partner[4].
  • An estimated 53,100 men (44% of the 119,600 men who had experience current partner violence) and an estimated 128,500 women (54% of the 237,100 women who had experienced current partner violence) who had children in their care when the violence occurred[5].

Actions taken in response to partner violence

  • An estimated 64,700 men (54% of the 119,600 men who had experience current partner violence) and an estimated 60,800 women (26% of the 237,100 women who had experienced current partner violence) had never told anyone about the violence by their current partner.
  • An estimated 84,100 men (70% of the 119,600 men who had experience current partner violence) and an estimated 92,500 women (39% of the 237,100 women who had experienced current partner violence) had never sought advice or support about the violence by their current partner.
  • An estimated 113,200 men (95% of the 119,600 men who had experience current partner violence) and an estimated 190,100 women (80% of the 237,100 women who had experienced current partner violence) had never contacted the police about the violence by their current partner[6].

Emotional Abuse

The ABS, PSS of 2012 provides an overview of emotional abuse experienced and estimates 248,000 (2.9%) of all men had experienced emotional abuse by their current partner since the age of 15. Also an estimated 392,100 women (4.5%) of all women had experienced emotional abuse by their current partner since the age of 15[7].

  • 27% of the 248,000 men and 46% of the 392,100 women who had experienced emotional abuse from their current partner had experienced constant insults.
  • 41% of men and 34% women reported that their current partner had controlled or tried to control where they went or who they saw.
  • 28% of men and 25% of women reported their current partner monitored their whereabouts.
  • 23% of men and 17% of women reported that their current partner had stopped or tried to stop them from contacting family, friends or their community.
  • 16% of men and 7% of women reported that their current partner had threatened to take their children away [8].

43% of men and 63% of women who had experienced emotional abuse by their current partner experienced fear and/or anxiety as a result of such abuse[9].

Experience of Violence and Emotional Abuse by a Current Partner

Around one in five (18%) of the 248,000 men who had experienced emotional abuse by their current partner had also experienced violence by them. Around a third (33%) of the 392,000 women who had experienced emotional abuse by their current partner had also experienced violence by them[10].

Experience of Physical and/or Sexual Abuse Before Age 15

Of those who had experienced emotional abuse by their current partner, 25% of men and 37% of women had also experienced physical and/or sexual abuse before the age of 15[11].

Current Partner Violence and Emotional Abuse

37% of men and 55% of women who had experienced violence by their current partner since age 15 had also experienced emotional abuse by their partner[12].

Intimate Partner Homicides 2016

This year media have reported on approximately 11 men that have been victims of intimate partner homicides[13] and approximately 24 women that have been victims of intimate partner homicides[14].

Sole/Lone Father Households

Demographic Characteristics

In 2006, 87% of one-parent families with children under 15 years were headed by mothers. The proportion headed by fathers was 12% in 1997 and 13% (approx. 86,000) in 2006[15]. In 2011 single parent households headed by a single father rose to 17.6% equating to approximately 158,688[16] If the growth rate of single parent families headed by a father continues at the 14% growth rate between 2006 and 2011 single parent households headed by a father are expected to have reached approximately 260,000 by 2015.

Employment

Between 1997 and 2006 the proportion of lone parents who were in the labour force (i.e. either employed or looking for work) increased from 52% to 62%. This reflected an increase in the proportion of lone mothers in the labour force, from 49% to 60%. Over the same period the proportion of partnered mothers in the labour force also increased, from 61% to 66%. The labour force participation rate of partnered fathers remained the same (around 94%) while that for lone fathers fluctuated in the range 63% to 77%[17]. In June 2012 there were 72% of single fathers employed compared with 55% of single mothers[18]

Many of these households may have unfortunately found themselves to be victims of domestic violence with little to no support specifically designed for males and their children. Many fathers often have to leave their positions of employment (approximately 22% as outlined above) to care for their children full time, this adding additional stress to the father.

Division 5 Domestic Violence Unit

A staff member from Division 5 of the Domestic Violence Unit in 2015 specified that there were on average 30 applications for intervention orders at the Heidelberg Magistrates Court per week male victims of domestic violence sought and 90 for female victims. Although female victims can be referred to Berry Street I was advised there was nowhere for the male victims to be referred to.

Conclusion

Domestic Violence is an issue that does not discriminate and services should not discriminate against any victim who finds their trust abused by the person who was meant to love them. These men/fathers and children deserve equal opportunity to seek and receive support as women, mothers and children who find themselves to be victims of domestic violence. I hope to see the recommendations from the Royal Commission into Family Violence taken into consideration to show that Victoria is truly a state of equality and so that all victims of domestic violence may access the support they most desperately need.

 

[1] National institute of Criminology, Domestic/family homicide, May 2015, Table 3, http://www.aic.gov.au/publications/current%20series/rip/21-40/rip38.html, 14 June 2016.

[2] Parliament of Australia, Domestic violence in Australia – an overview of the issues, [59] Gretch and Burgess, Trends and patterns in domestic violence assaults: 2001 to 2010, op. cit., p. 8, http://www.aph.gov.au/about_parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/BN/2011-2012/DVAustralia#_ftn59, 14 June 2016.

[3] Australian Bureau of Statistics, Personal Safety Survey 2012, http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4906.0Chapter7002012, 14 June 2016.

[4] Australian Bureau of Statistics, Personal Safety Survey 2012, http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/0FA5AD2CEE4EFFF8CA257C3D000D853F?opendocument, 14 June 2016.

[5] Australian Bureau of Statistics, Personal Safety Survey 2012, Whether violence seen or heard by children, http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/2A75B2D3461A186CCA257C3D000D8653?opendocument, 14 June 2016.

[6] Australian Bureau of Statistics, Personal Safety Survey 2012, Actions Taken in Response To Partner Violence, http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/25AF91125718ADF1CA257C3D000D856A?opendocument, 14 June 2016.

[7] Australian Bureau of Statistics, Personal Safety Survey 2012, Experience of emotional abuse by current partner, http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4906.0Chapter8002012, 14 June 2016.

[8] Australian Bureau of Statistics, Personal Safety Survey 2012, Australian Social Trends 2014, Emotional abuse, http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4102.0main+features602014#DATA, 14 June 2016.

[9] Australian Bureau of Statistics, Personal Safety Survey 2012, Australian Social Trends 2014, Emotional abuse, http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4102.0main+features602014#DATA, 14 June 2016.

[10] Australian Bureau of Statistics, Personal Safety Survey 2012, Australian Social Trends 2014, Emotional abuse, http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4102.0main+features602014#DATA, 14 June 2016.

[11] Australian Bureau of Statistics, Personal Safety Survey 2012, Australian Social Trends 2014, Emotional abuse, http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4102.0main+features602014#DATA, 14 June 2016.

[12] Australian Bureau of Statistics, Personal Safety Survey 2012, Australian Social Trends 2014, Emotional abuse, http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4102.0main+features602014#DATA, 14 June 2016.

[13] https://www.facebook.com/notes/destroy-the-narrative/homicide-victims-of-women-2016/1072024862849977.

[14] https://www.facebook.com/notes/destroy-the-joint/counting-dead-women-australia-2016-we-count-every-known-death-due-to-violence-ag/1060730783974665.

[15] Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian Social trends 2007, Demographic Characteristics, http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/0/F4B15709EC89CB1ECA25732C002079B2?opendocument, 14 June 2016.

[16] Australian Bureau of Statistics, Quick stats, Families, single parents, http://www.censusdata.abs.gov.au/census_services/getproduct/census/2011/quickstat/0?opendocument&navpos=220, 14 June 2016.

[17] Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian Social trends 2007, Labour Force Participation, http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/0/F4B15709EC89CB1ECA25732C002079B2?opendocument, 14 June 2016.

[18] Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian Social trends 2007, Labour Force, http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Products/6224.0.55.001~Jun%202012~Chapter~one%20Parent%20Families, 14 June 2016.

Comments

comments

About the author

Jasmin

Jasmin is a specialist men’s coach who supports men in all aspects of relationships, but specifically those who are going through high conflict separation and divorce. She is also a dedicate advocate for services for men and their children who have been victims of domestic violence and abuse.

Jasmin helps men who are struggling and feeling lost and alone, to move to a place of acceptance and confidence so they can move ahead and live a life consistent with their values and beliefs. She believes strongly in the power of overcoming past hurts through empathy and compassion.

She is a mother of two, author, presenter and coach. She lives in the idyllic coastal town of Merimbula, NSW, Australia.

*All written material on Relating To Men is subject to copyright to the author.