To send a message to the Australian Governments that all victims of violence and abuse deserve services and support,

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  2. Click here to find the name and email address of your local member of Federal Parliament and add it to your outgoing email.

  3. Copy the suggested email message below and paste it into the body of your outgoing email.

  4. If you wish, edit the message to reflect your personal views (this is strongly recommended). Please be polite and respectful while getting your point across. If possible, suggest productive options that could be adopted by your state or federal representatives.

  5. Add your name, address and contact details at the bottom of the message.

  6. Send your email.

Suggested email message

To the Federal, State and Territory Ministers and Shadow Ministers for Women, The Prevention of Family Violence, Health, Social Services, Attorneys General, Shadow Attorneys General and the CEO of Our Watch,

Up to one in three victims of sexual assault and at least one in three victims of family violence is male (please refer to the website for more details). Almost half the victims of partner emotional abuse are male. More than one in three victims of domestic homicide are male (one male is killed on average every ten days). Almost one in four young people are aware of their mum/stepmum hitting their dad/stepdad. Male and female victims of reported domestic assault receive very similar numbers and types of injuries. Males are two to three times more likely than females to have never told anybody about experiencing partner violence. Post-separation, fathers make up the majority of parents who report experiencing the highest levels of severity of fear, control and coercion. Between 2005 and 2016, the proportion of men reporting violence in the last year from their current partners rose more than five-fold while the proportion experiencing emotional abuse more than doubled.

While many services have quite rightly been established over past decades to support female victims of family violence, the needs of male victims remain largely unmet.

Historically government policies have been based on the assumption that perpetrators are men and victims are women and children, and the policies of current governments are still largely based upon this erroneous position. Indeed, regretfully, the National Council to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children did not include male victims in their otherwise laudable March 2009 recommendations, which led to the establishment of Our Watch. Their report, Time for Action: The National Council's Plan for Australia to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children, 2009-2021, states:

"Why is the Plan of Action focused on women and their children? While both women and men can be perpetrators and/or victims of sexual assault and domestic and family violence, research shows that the overwhelming majority of violence and abuse is perpetrated by men against women... This Plan of Action... focuses primarily on the rights of the majority of victims of domestic and family violence and sexual assault, women and their children."

Why a large minority of victims - at least one third - doesn't deserve support is never explained. The Plan focuses only on the needs of women and children, neglecting the government's legal and moral obligation to provide services and support for the substantial male population of victims of sexual assault and family violence:

"Violence against women and their children is wrong. It is a fundamental breach of human rights... No woman should be a victim of sexual assault or domestic and family violence... Australian women and their children have a right to protection from violence... Services [are required to] meet the needs of women and their children."

Using this rationale, Governments would stop providing suicide-prevention or heart disease programs to females (as the minority of suicides and heart disease diagnoses are female). Sensibly they don’t do this, so why ignore male victims of family violence and abuse just because they might be in the minority?

The Time For Action report has been enthusiastically supported by the federal government and the Council of Australian Governments. The previous federal Labor government commited $44.5 million over four years to reduce violence against women and their children. Only $0.75 million was commited to expanding counselling services for male victims of domestic violence through Mensline. The current federal Coalition government has committed $100 million to reduce violence against women and their children, with nothing for male victims of family violence. This funding for women is of course laudable, but men need funding for services and support too. This conscious neglect of males is in itself a form of social violence – Australian Governments have human rights obligations that require them to cater equitably for the needs of all, regardless of gender. One in three is enough to reject the politics of ideology. It is time to care for all those in need, whether male or female. Now is the time for action by politicians and community leaders to recognise that a comprehensive approach is required to combat the scourge of family violence.

Thankfully there have been recent moves in this direction. The NSW Government Legislative Council’s Standing Committee on Social Issues' 2012 report on domestic violence trends and issues in NSW found that:

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

Following in this positive direction, the Australian Public Service Commission's recent circular Supporting Employees Affected by Domestic or Family Violence, stated that, "while [domestic or family] violence against men is not as common [as against women], it should be treated as seriously as violence against women."

The 2015 Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence found that over the five years from July 2009, the proportion of male victims increased and in 2013-14 male victims made up 31% (n=5,052) of total victims of family violence. It recommended that the Victorian Government publicise and promote the Victims Support Agency in any information campaign relating to family violence as the primary source of assistance for male victims, and the agency should also provide appropriate online resources for male victims. The Victims Support Agency and all other relevant support services should develop joint arrangements to ensure that male victims of family violence are supported in obtaining the help they need.

The 2015 Australian Senate inquiry into domestic violence in Australia recommended that the Commonwealth Government recognise the need to provide appropriate services to male victims of domestic and family violence.

I urge you to continue this trend and work toward making all services, programs and campaigns for victims and perpetrators of violence and abuse targeted equitably to all that need them - whether male or female.

Yours sincerely,

<Your name, address and contact details>