Minister misleads Parliament on domestic violence
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
One in Three Campaign

A leading men’s health organisation today claimed that the Minister for the Status of Women, Hon Gail Gago MLC, misled Parliament by maintaining that false statistics on the Government’s Don’t Cross the Line anti-violence campaign website are accurate.

Men's Health Australia also lodged an official complaint with the Ombudsman last Thursday after five months of attempting to draw the Minister's attention to the major statistical errors on the website. The complaint alleges that the Office for Women acted unreasonably by publishing and not correcting this false and misleading information.

Men’s Health Australia spokesman Greg Andresen said, “The Facts and Stats page of the website is extremely misleading to the public. It clearly inflates statistics about domestic violence against women while understating statistics about domestic violence against men.”

Men’s Health Australia is supportive of all efforts to reduce interpersonal violence in the community but is concerned that the regular use of incorrect or misleading ‘statistics’ by Governments unfairly stigmatises men and boys as violent and abusive, while simultaneously denying services to male victims of violence.

They are also concerned that the Government’s approach is not in the interests of all children in families where there is abuse or violence, but selectively favours those children in families where violence is perpetrated by the father. The other one-third to half of children have to fend for themselves without support.

On 14th October Minister Gago defended the misleading statistics in Parliament, claiming that “the data on the Don't Cross the Line website is sound.”

Some of the campaign’s errors alleged by Men’s Health Australia include:

“All victims of violence deserve campaigns based upon up-to-date accurate data, and the tax-paying public doesn’t deserve to be misled. Flawed data such as this can only lead to flawed policies and actions, and many children continue to be exposed to violence because of these myths,” said Mr Andresen.

“Inflating statistics on domestic violence against women risks generating an unwarranted climate of fear in the community, especially amongst females. It also has terrible impacts upon the self-esteem of boys and the development of their healthy masculinity.

“Understating the prevalence of domestic violence against men makes it less likely that a man will be believed when he finally summons up the courage to disclose his partner’s abuse of him. It also allows Government to continue to get away with family violence policies and campaigns that ignore male victims.”

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Article originally appeared on One in Three Campaign (http://www.oneinthree.com.au/).
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