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Male victims of domestic violence: Police facebook post stirs debate on controversial issue


A Facebook post by NSW Police has sparked a passionate social media debate on an issue many suggest society — and the police themselves — sweep under the carpet.

The post, written this morning, sets a typical domestic violence scene but plays with assumptions to highlight this statistic:

“Last year, 1 in every 5 domestic violence assaults that NSW Police responded to involving intimate partners were for male victims.”

Already the post has been shared nearly 5000 times and drawn hundreds of comments.

Many posters are supportive of the police raising the issue, with many sharing their own survival stories. Although some suggest the police don’t treat the issue as seriously as they should.

“Many more stories like this are needed,” wrote Darren Quinn. “There are too many assumptions by the general public that its him him him.”

Hellen Brugnatti, agreed, saying: “It’s nice to see some recognition where the men are victims not just the woman victims.”

However, some men suggest the police have failed to treat domestic violence against men with the same level of gravity they would if the victim was female.

“I called police on a few occasions over 6 months to report an attack on me,” wrote Stephen Cook.

“I was called a sook by the officers and they did not take statements or recorded (sic).”

Henry Tunks backed up Mr Cook’s assertion:

“The NSW Police don’t help male victims of domestic violence unless force(d) to do so,” he wrote. “The NSW Police do a wonderful job in almost all areas, helping male victims is not one.”

However, many like Caroline Watts encouraged victims of all genders to report abuse.

“It takes a lot of courage to stand up, walk into the police station and say I need help regardless of your sex or the type of relationship you have,” she said.

“People’s attitudes and tolerance towards domestic violence are slowly changing and one day hopefully everyone will have zero tolerance towards it.

“I thank the police who helped me every day and also pray that they stay safe when they need to go into these situations to help the next person.”

Advocacy group the One in Three Campaign suggests that 2012 research from the Australian Beaureau of Statistics put the proportion of male victims of partner violence at 33%.

This includes assaults against men by other family members - sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, and extended family members.

Greg Andresen, senior researcher for the organisation, said men are much less likely to report violence for a number of reasons. These include the social stigmas of being unable to protect themselves, fear that disclosure could end their relationship or uncertainty about where to seek help.

“Even in 2015 both men and women are raised to believe that men are supposed to be ‘big, tough, strong and powerful’ and women are supposed to be ‘smaller, weaker and powerless’,” Andresen said.

“There is probably a grain of truth to these stereotypes. However, they don’t account for the fact that many men aren’t ‘big, tough, strong and powerful’ and many women aren’t “smaller, weaker and powerless.”

He added that his organisation believes the response of authorities hasn’t been tough enough.

“Unfortunately the message from governments and NGOs such as White Ribbon and Amnesty International has been completely one-sided - only sending the message that male violence against women needs to be stopped,” he said.

“There has been no community education censuring violence by women, or raising awareness of the existence or needs of male victims of family violence. This Facebook post post by the NSW Police is one of the first instances we have seen since we launched in 2009.”

ABS statistics also show that 37.3% of victims of partner emotional abuse were men, 38.7% of domestic homicide victims were men and over half of these males experienced anxiety or fear due to the emotional abuse.

The same figures suggest “current partner violence’ on men experienced a 175% rise between 2005 and 2012.

The site says men are 2 or 3 times more likely than woman to never tell anyone about experiencing domestic violence and twice as likely to have never asked for advice on the issue.

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Reader Comments (6)

6 women have died this year already in Australia at the hands of their male partners/ex. I'm a male and happy to focus on the women and children, anyone with any common sense would know they are the ones that really need help. We know men are much more likely to murder, rape add on any type of crime to my sentence, with men being 10 times more likely to be in jail for any type of crime and you want us to believe all of a sudden they are just as likely to be victims of DV. ?? So women don't commit crime anywhere near the same level as men but they are perps of DV at problem rates. Nah don't buy it

January 19, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterKik


Martin S. Fiebert
Department of Psychology
California State University, Long Beach

SUMMARY: This bibliography examines 286 scholarly investigations: 221 empirical studies and 65 reviews and/or analyses, which demonstrate that women are as physically aggressive, or more aggressive, than men in their relationships with their spouses or male partners. The aggregate sample size in the reviewed studies exceeds 371,600.


January 21, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterGreetigs from Finland

Mr 'Nah don't buy it' you are entitled to your opinion, but what matters is the facts. To ignore the facts is to add to the stupidity that perpetuates ignorance about how to tackle domestic violence, which just so happens to be a problem for women and children as well as male victims of violence.

January 21, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSharon

You are missing the point here Kik. Victims of domestic violence require support to have healthier relationships. This is good for the community as a whole. What this paper shows (and its the point you are missing) is that there is a lot of men not receiving appropriate support and moving into more damaging relations. I'd suggest you to read about the impact of domestic violence towards male on children.

January 22, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPabs

There's no denying assisting women and children. It needn't come at the neglect or denial of men who also experience abusive and violent behaviours by their female partners. The verbal, emotional and psychological abuse and incessant taunting is psychologically damaging. That's before any bites, scratches, threatening or throwing objects or weapons adds to physical damage. The confusion, shame and battering of it all are psychologically damaging and these symptoms to be healed do not discriminate between the mental health of men or women. Men may 10x more likely to be in jail but we need to check some of the reasons and processes for that incarceration, especially in the case of DV associated situations where false allegations are but another form of abuse and manipulation that female perpetrators use and may get away with because people need to understand more about the less obvious ways female perpetrators can abuse and be violent. Let's also remember that men are much more reticent to admit they are on the receiving end of abuse and violence from their female partner whom they love and have loyalty to, so denial by themselves or other men is an easier avenue to take, so focusing on women and children becomes easier and perhaps more heroic perhaps for many men who so blatantly disregard their fellow human being. Eventually the psychological difficulties catch up and the social, financial, quality of life implications show themselves. It doesn't have to take any longer to help a male in these circumstances than it does to help a female in these circumstances. Abuse is abuse regardless of gender.

January 22, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth

Hey Kik,
Comments like " i don't buy it " when referring to Statistic provided by the NSW Police Force are why this ONE IN THREE campaign is needed.

Is that what you would have said to the community in Cairns in December about the 8 Children who were murdered allegedly at the hands of their violent Mother.

The Australian newspaper reported Detectives suspect that " Thaiday, 37, must have drugged the children before she took to them with a steak knife, later found dripping with blood ". - Kik's response to was heard to be " i don't buy it "

January 29, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDads Are Essential

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