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Friday
Nov272009

Men are domestic violence victims, too

Letter to the Sydney Morning Herald.

It should be a positive step to have the State Coroner chair a permanent panel to review domestic violence-related deaths (''All domestic violence deaths to be reviewed by State Coroner'', November 24). But your article blurs the statistics. It is right about the number of women murdered each year, and most are murdered by men. But these are not the ''majority of all murders''. Women constitute about one in three of all murder victims.

You quote Betty Green of the NSW Domestic Violence Coalition as saying, ''We really do not know how many women are dying in domestic violence.'' This is probably true, thanks to shortcomings in police reporting systems. But why mention only women?

What we do know, based on current figures, is that about 61 per cent of domestic violence murder victims are women. The most recent statistics available from the Australian Institute of Criminology indicate that in NSW in 2006-07, seven women and 11 men killed their partner.

Yes, it is tragic that women are dying each year at the hands of their partners, and equally tragic that men are doing so. The causes are complex and the statistics don't even begin to explain the dynamics in each case. I hope the new review board will thoroughly investigate each case of family-related homicide so that we can get a more nuanced understanding of the causes and end this tragedy for both men and women.

Toni McLean Bundanoon

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