Male victims of family violence face gap in services and need special consideration: NSW Government report
Friday, August 31, 2012
One in Three Campaign

The NSW Government Legislative Council’s Standing Committee on Social Issues this week released their report on domestic violence trends and issues in NSW: the first ever to acknowledge the existence, needs, barriers to reporting and barriers to accessing support faced by male victims of family violence. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, more than 100,000 men in NSW have experienced violence from their partner.

Greg Andresen, Senior Researcher for the One in Three Campaign said, “This courageous report heralds a new era of gender equity by the NSW Government by finally acknowledging the forgotten one-third of victims of family violence: men and boys.”

The findings of the report include:

Mr Andresen said, “We are especially pleased the Committee has recommended that the entire system for preventing and responding to family violence needs to take account of, and be effective for, all victims and perpetrators: not just women and children victims and male perpetrators as has been the case up until now.”

“The Committee has also advised the Government that legislation and policy should be written in gender neutral terms – something we have been advocating for some time. They have also strongly recommended that male victims and female perpetrators be addressed in the Government’s forthcoming Domestic and Family Violence Framework.”

“Until now, the Government’s entire specific support for male victims and their children has been a single page on their domestic violence website. Men have been unable to access the Government’s Start Safely and Staying Home Leaving Violence programs. They have been denied access to safe rooms and legal assistance at court as well as emergency accommodation for themselves and their children. They have also been absent from the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and Children.”

“We look forward to seeing the Report’s recommendations implemented by the NSW Government, and to working with them to ensure that each element of the criminal justice system, as well as the range of support services, is sensitive to the needs of all victims of family violence” said Mr Andresen.

MEDIA CONTACTS

Andrew Humphreys, Spokesperson, One in Three Campaign, 0418 378 568 or

Greg Andresen, Senior Researcher, One in Three Campaign, 0403 813 925 or

Download a PDF version of this media release from here.

SUBMISSIONS AND TRANSCRIPT

The One in Three Campaign's submission to the Inquiry can be found here (PDF). The Campaign appeared before the Inquiry on 20th February 2012. You can read the transcript here (please refer to pages 16-24), and our Questions Taken on Notice, Supplementary Questions and Additional Information here

QUOTES

Notable quotes from the Committee's Final Report include:

“there are male victims and female perpetrators” (p xxi)
“the system for preventing and responding to [domestic] violence needs to take account of, and be effective for, all victims and perpetrators” (p xxi)
“some women perpetrate domestic violence and... some men are victims” (p xxiv)
“male victims have been much less visible and able to access supports than should be the case” (p xxiv)
“while it is important that some groups’ access to women’s refuges improve, for others, most especially male victims, it is more appropriate that alternative emergency accommodation be provided via brokerage services administered by a relevant support service.” (p xxxi)
“there are male victims of domestic violence” (p xxxii)
“While men are less likely to be victims [than women], the experience of those that are is equally as bad as that of other victims” (p xxxii)
“We recognise the gap in services for male victims and encourage the government to examine how services can most appropriately be provided to male victims of domestic violence, including via brokerage funds” (p xxxii)
“We make recommendations in Chapters 2, 4, 5 and 6 that we expect will achieve better recognition and responses to male victims” (p xxxii)
“We also note our strong endorsement in Chapter 4 of the Auditor-General’s recommendation that the forthcoming DFV Framework establish mechanisms to continually address both barriers to reporting and barriers to accessing supports. Once again, we see male victims as an important group here, and actively encourage the government in this task.” (p xxxii)
“Of victims of domestic assault in 2010, 69.2 per cent were female, while 30.8 per cent were male.” (p 28)
“some women perpetrate domestic violence and... some men are victims, and also... male victims have been much less visible and able to access supports than should be the case. We consider that the system for preventing and responding to domestic violence needs to take account of, and be effective for, all victims and perpetrators, and we address this further in Chapter 4 concerning the forthcoming NSW Domestic and Family Violence Framework, Chapter 5, concerning prevention and early intervention, Chapter 6, concerning services for victims, Chapter 10 concerning legal representation for respondents in ADVO matters, Chapter 11 regarding legal services for victims, Chapter 14 on sentencing and penalties, and Chapter 15 on perpetrator programs.” (p 31)
“legislation and policy should be written in gender neutral terms” (p 31)
“In addition to male victims, a number of population groups were identified during the inquiry as in need of special consideration with regard to domestic violence” (p 31)
“we... recognise that there are female perpetrators and male victims... It is important that... these... be addressed in the forthcoming DFV Framework” (p 57)
“[men are one of the] population groups identified as in need of special consideration with regard to domestic violence” (p 89)
“many victims’ services are women specific” (p 155)
“there are male victims of domestic violence. While men are less likely to be victims, the experience of those that are is equally as bad as that of other victims. We recognise the gap in services for male victims and encourage the government to examine how services can most appropriately be provided to male victims of domestic violence, including via brokerage funds.” (p 156)
“the forthcoming DFV Framework needs to take account of and be effective for all victims and perpetrators. Correspondingly, our Recommendation 5 was that the Framework be inclusive of both genders.” (p 156)
“we envisage that our Recommendation 24, for universal primary prevention strategies focusing on violence against women to be complemented by strategies targeting specific population groups, would necessarily address violence against men.” (p 156)
“in relation to Recommendation 30, which calls for an expansion to brokerage funds, that these would be an appropriate way to respond to the emergency accommodation needs of male victims. It is foreseeable that there would be other needs that brokerage funds can address for this group.” (p 156)
“in order to improve male victims’ access to victims services, we also consider that the needs of male victims would be an important focus of the responses to Recommendation 20 in Chapter 4, to improve victims’ awareness of domestic violence services, with particular attention to the needs of specific population groups.” (p 156)
“we note our strong endorsement in paragraph 4.146 of the Auditor-General’s recommendation that the forthcoming DFV Framework establish mechanisms to continually address both barriers to reporting and barriers to accessing supports. Once again, we see male victims as an important group here, and actively encourage the government in this task.” (p 156)
“there was a broad recognition among inquiry participants that women offenders and male victims do exist. Each element of the criminal justice system, as well as the range of support services, needs to be sensitive to the needs of both groups. It is important to ensure that these systems are resourced and equipped to respond appropriately.” (p 218)
Article originally appeared on One in Three Campaign (http://www.oneinthree.com.au/).
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