This page contains a selection of recent news articles and commentary about male victims of violence and abuse plus related issues. These articles are presented as a community service, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the One in Three Campaign.

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Finally, our policy-makers are waking up to the plight of male domestic abuse victims | Mark Brooks (UK)


This week, the Queen announced that the Government are going ahead with a new Domestic Violence and Abuse Bill.

The aim, broadly speaking, is to bring all the disparate pieces of domestic abuse legislation, policies and guidance together. There will be a new legal definition, more emphasis on the effects on children and a more focused justice system.

It's a sensible, commendable move. The Bill presents an opportunity to support all victims of domestic violence - women, men, and any children they may have in their household.

What was particularly encouraging was to hear the beginning of a shift in the Government's narrative on domestic abuse, from one that has focused overwhelmingly on female victims in heterosexual relationships, to a more inclusive, equality-based narrative that gives equal importance and concern to victims regardless of their gender.

It may not seem much to the naked eye, but the inclusion of the following line in the Government's briefing document indicates a move from a gender exclusive approach to a gender inclusive approach. It is the first time I have seen this in such a high-profile way from the Government:

"The 2015/16 Crime Survey for England and Wales indicates 7.7% of women and 4.4% of men reported having experienced any type of domestic abuse in the last year. This is the lowest level since the survey began." (page 37)

In effect, one in every three victims is male. So this sea change is welcome and will continue the grassroots movement in services for male victims, which is starting to establish itself in the UK. Many existing female-only services are now opening their doors to male victims - offering different types of support - an approach we believe is vital. A one size fits all blancmange of services will not work for men or women.

It is always worth noting though that this is not always supported. There were some delegates at a conference I spoke at in Salford this week who told me they had recently met local opposition from the "sector" about setting up services for men.

It shows there is still much to do and any new law, like any legislation, is only as good as its application. So we need to make sure that the new measures are applied on the ground to men as they rightly are to women. This requires a further culture change, which is why the role of the Domestic Violence and Abuse Commissioner, also announced in the Queen's Speech, is so pivotal.

The Commissioner is a big leap forward in providing focus, culture change and consistency across Government but also in all statutory services. Whilst the police, justice sector and local government are improving, it is recognised that the health service remains a problem area. From our experience, the health service is less attuned both to recognising and supporting male victims and to recognising male vulnerability more widely. 

The new role does come with risk though for male victims and providers, depending on the views of the post holder. It would be a real concern if the Commissioner held an ideological view about domestic abuse, held by many, which is broadly that domestic abuse is a gendered crime based on patterns of global discrimination and oppression that female victims face. Therefore, so the theory goes, women must be the priority.

A Commissioner that held this view of domestic abuse would turn the clock back to the dark ages, when there was little or no support or recognition for men in heterosexual or same-sex relationships, or for women in same-sex relationships. This cannot be allowed to happen

However, a Commissioner holding a progressive inclusive multi-dimensional view would be a real opportunity. This view is one that recognises domestic abuse primarily as a crime against individuals and the only priority should be supporting those people based on their particular risk, not their gender.

The latter is the view the ManKind Initiative and a growing number of academics, professionals and service providers share. The Commissioner would be swimming with the tide rather than against it.

To make sure the Government's plans in this field are a real success, it is vital they make the right appointment. We are confident they will do so.

Mark Brooks is the chairman of the ManKind Initiative charity


Senator Leyonhjelm asks questions about the "Let's Stop It At The Start" domestic violence ad campaign

Excerpt from Official Recording of Community Affairs Senate Committee Proceedings from the Australian Parliament on 01/06/2017 at 13:25:00.

Transcript as follows:

CHAIR: We will kick off again and commence with questions from Senator Leyonhjelm.

Senator Seselja: Mr Pratt has some additional information for Senator Pratt and the committee.

Mr Pratt: In relation to a few questions about 1800Respect, there are a couple of comebacks. One is there are no male counsellors answering calls on 1800Respect. We can also confirm that specialist gambling counsellors do not answer 1800Respect calls.

Senator PRATT: I appreciate the feedback to us in a timely way on both matters.

Mr Pratt: It is a pleasure.

Senator LEYONHJELM: I asked at the previous estimates some questions about the violence against women campaign. I am assuming I have the right people.

Mr Pratt: Yes.

Senator LEYONHJELM: I asked in particular about the research that informed that campaign. That research was undertaken by the TNS consultancy. It stated, without giving any citations, and I quote here:

There is strong community support for the cessation of extreme violence against women. A significant barrier to achieving this change, however, is low recognition of the heart of the issue and where it begins. There is a clear link between violence towards women and attitudes of disrespect and gender inequality.

At the last estimates, I put a question on notice for a citation about disrespect and gender inequality being the heart of the issue. The question—I did ask it at the last estimates—was taken on notice. In response, I received a reply in SQ17/150 that was six paragraphs. The first four paragraphs advise of ABS statistics indicating more partner violence against women than against men. I assume the department is not intending to argue that these statistics are measures of disrespect or gender inequality or show that disrespect and gender inequity are at the heart of the issue. Am I right in that assumption?

Ms Bell: The campaign is based on a range of research, including international and domestic research. It includes the World Health Organisation's Preventing intimate partner and sexual violence against women: taking action and generating evidence as well as ANROW's research for the Australian Bureau of Statistics Personal Safety Survey. A variety of these research pieces go to one of the key elements of violence against women, being disrespectful behaviour and gender inequality, which is why the campaign takes a primary prevention approach to these issues in order to break the cycle of violence.

Senator LEYONHJELM: Well, you did not quite answer my question, but you did refer to the WHO report. Your written answer on notice referred to the WHO report. Your answer cites studies supporting violence against women as a consequence of gender inequality. Are you arguing that the WHO report indicates that, of all the factors, gender inequality is the heart of the issue?

Ms Bell: No. In the campaign, we do not argue that gender inequality and disrespectful behaviour are at the heart of the issue. They are one of the contributing factors. The COAG decision, when the campaign was commissioned, supported that premise. However, it is not the only contributing factor to violence against women.

Senator LEYONHJELM: What else does the WHO report suggest is responsible for violence against women?

Ms Bell: I actually do not have the full details of that report with me. I will have to take that on notice.

Senator LEYONHJELM: Well, I might know the answer to that before you need to take it on notice. The WHO report lists individual factors—low income, low education, sexual abuse, parental violence, antisocial personality, harmful use of alcohol, illicit drug use and acceptance of violence. It lists relationship factors—multiple partners and fidelity and low resistance to peer pressure. It lists community factors—weak community sanctions. And it lists poverty and societal factors—traditional gender norms and social norms supportive of violence. So in none of those does it actually nominate gender inequality as a key contributor. The sixth paragraph in your response refers to an unpublished 2007 paper by Michael Flood and a report of a survey by VicHealth, which was commissioned by your department. The lead author is named as Anita Harris. I am assuming you are familiar with both of them. Did the unpublished paper by Michael Flood support the contention by TNS consultancy that disrespect and gender inequality were more important contributors? Did it compare them to other contributors, such as poverty, alcohol abuse and drug abuse?

Ms Bell: Senator, I am not aware it gave it any greater importance in that research, but it is, once again, one of the contributing factors, which is why the campaign has focussed on it.

Senator LEYONHJELM: Did you have a copy of that 2007 paper by Flood when you prepared your response to my question on notice?

Ms Bell: My understanding is that we did because it was part of the desktop analysis done in 2015.

Senator LEYONHJELM: Are you able to provide a copy to the committee?

Ms Bell: I can take that on notice.

Senator LEYONHJELM: Thank you. Did the survey compare the contribution to violence against women of disrespect and gender inequality against other factors, such as poverty, alcohol abuse and drug abuse?

Ms Bell: Are you referring to the ABS survey?

Senator LEYONHJELM: No. The VicHealth survey that you cited in your response to my question on notice. The lead author is named as Anita Harris.

Ms Bell: I would have to take that on notice.

Senator LEYONHJELM: You will have to take that on notice. In fact, we found that the survey only measured reported attitudes to violence—attitudes, in other words. I do not think it substantiates the argument, but you can take it on notice as to whether you think it determined or indicated any relative importance of those contributors. I would like to go a little further into that survey. That survey, which you cited as a reference source and to underpin the violence against women campaign, states that it is an area of concern that only 60 per cent of young people agree that violence against women is common. That raises the question: can you definitively say that violence against women is common?

Ms Bell: The 2017 national community attitudes survey found a strong relationship between attitudes to gender inequality and attitudes to violence. Some of the research showed that one in four young people is prepared to excuse partner violence and one in five believes there are circumstances in which a woman bears some responsibility for the violent behaviour. That research formed the basis of the primary prevention approach for the campaign when we targeted the influences of 10 to 17-year-old children.

Senator LEYONHJELM: I guess the question, though, is whether violence against women is common. If it is not common and if there is a perception that it is not common, you could hardly expect young people to say that it is. I mention that because the most recent ABS Personal Safety Survey indicates that 1.5 per cent of women reported experiencing violence by a partner or ex-partner during the previous 12 months. I suppose it depends on your definition, but I am not sure that 1.5 per cent would qualify as common, in my definition.

Ms Bennett: It is certainly more than is preferable, is it not?

Senator LEYONHJELM: Indeed. Indeed, it is. I am not suggesting that violence against women is acceptable or desirable or anything other than something to be avoided. What I am questioning is the commitment of taxpayers' funds to a program where, as I raised last estimates, the fundamental assumption is that there is a clear link between violence towards women and attitudes of disrespect and gender inequality. There is a 2013 United Nations quantitative study on male violence against women in Asia and the Pacific by Fulu et al. It indicates that low gender equitable attitudes are less important factors in explaining intimate partner violence than nearly every other factor listed, including the number of lifetime sexual partners, childhood abuse or neglect, a lack of education, food insecurity, oppression and alcohol abuse. Do you consider this UN study to be a credible source?

Ms Bell: I am not privy to the detail of that study so I cannot comment on it.

Senator LEYONHJELM: I would like you to take that on notice. Tell me how you regard that in terms of credibility relative to the other sources which you have relied on in which attitudes of disrespect and gender inequality were regarded as at least as important as other factors, if not more so. If the United Nations quantitative study on male violence against women in Asia and the Pacific is an accurate reflection of the situation in Australia as well, a policy response that focuses on disrespect and gender inequality and does not focus on the other factors that the UN study identifies as key contributors to violence would be inappropriate. It would be misdirected, would it not?

Ms Bell: I think we are making an assumption. We have quite considerable evidence that supports this campaign. We have not used the particular report that you are talking about so I cannot do a comparison. But, based on a COAG agreement to this campaign, which is based on considerable evidence, both domestic and international, we have enough of a supporting basis for this campaign to go ahead. The evaluation of the campaign shows the success of the campaign and the fact that it has reached the primary target audience and has changed perspectives on the issue. The traction that the campaign has only got with only one phase of advertising is quite considerable. We got 41 million views of the ad domestically. The research also shows that we have reached our target audience as predicted, and we have 69 per cent understanding the messaging and people acting on it. We have had 450,000 visits to the website and over 20,000 downloads of material. We are now going into a phase to investigate how we extend that campaign and get even further influence.

Senator LEYONHJELM: All right. That is based on the assumption that the heart of domestic violence against women is disrespect and gender inequality. So you have achieved, by those measures, a degree of awareness. Presumably, you consider that indicates a success. How much higher would those figures be if you had addressed the issues that the United Nations quantitative study found are equally, if not more—in fact, they said more—important as contributors to domestic violence? How much more successful could you have been?

Ms Bennett: We cannot possibly take a hypothetical thing that we did not do and then have a look at what outcome it might have had. It is not possible to do that.

Senator LEYONHJELM: I appreciate that. I am suggesting that there is a danger—and I am suspicious—that you have selectively taken the evidence rather than taken it as a whole. Ms Bell has said there is a

considerable amount of evidence. I hope you have given me the evidence in response to my question on notice at the last estimates. If there is other evidence that I have not received that underpins the basis of that campaign, I would like to see it.

Ms Bennett: We have provided—

Mr Pratt: We will go and further explore whether there is any other source of evidence—

Ms Bennett: That was used.

Senator LEYONHJELM: That would be good. I would like to know, because what you have sent me so far does not do it justice, in my view. I suspect that the program is misdirected and it could be more successful if it were redirected. This is my final question, because the Chair is going to wind me up in a moment. I wonder if you agree that the literature on partner violence splits into two camps; they are referred to as the patriarchal perspective and the family conflict perspective. Is that a reasonable assessment? Are you familiar with that idea?

Ms Bell: I am sorry, Senator, I am not. It has not gone to part of the work we have done for the campaign. It may be in a program or policy.

Senator LEYONHJELM: I might put a question on notice for you for that one. It might be a bit unfair. I will leave it there. Thank you very much.


Mothers who sexually abuse their sons | Radio National | Ginger Gorman

NOTE: This story contains content that people may find distressing

Since the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse was established by the Government in 2013, Australia has had a long, hard and often traumatic public conversation about child abuse.

Despite the painful stories of lives wrecked by systematic child abuse, and the failure of those adults in positions power to stop it, many advocates are grateful the issues are at least on the table.

As a community, it's made us pay far greater attention to sexual abuse that occurs not only in institutions, but in private homes too.

But there's one kind of child abuse that is barely acknowledged. It's the story of mothers who sexually abuse their sons.

If you need support, call Mensline 24/7 on 1300 78 99 78 or visit

You can also call Lifeline on 131114 or chat online at

For a detailed listing of support services for victims child sex abuse, see The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse's website.

You can listen to the program at the Life Matters website at



Dark Secrets: Australia's Hidden Shame - Prime 7 TV program with Ray Martin

Acclaimed Australian journalist and presenter Ray Martin, returns to present a second major public affairs special for the network.

PRIME7 News presents an unflinching one hour special on domestic violence to bring light to the most common violent crime taking place across regional Australia.

DARK SECRETS: AUSTRALIA’S HIDDEN SHAME brings attention to the courageous and often confronting experiences of those facing domestic violence, and the inspirational campaigners, community leaders, police officers and victims who are not going to sit back and let these crimes continue.

If you or someone you know is affected by domestic violence, call please 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit

Most of the program falls into the long-discredited 'gendered violence' narrative, using "women" instead of "victims" and "men" instead of "perpetrators". It also gets its facts completely wrong about the gendered breakdown of family violence in Australia (claiming 90% of victims are female, when all the data show a third of victims are male).

However, it does include a small segment on male victims of domestic violence, interviewing two male victims and discussing some of the issues faced by male victims. This is quite groundbreaking - just a few years ago there is no way a program like this would have even acknowledged that male victims exist.

You can view the whole program at, or just the excerpt on male victims at


1IN3 submission to federal parliamentary inquiry into a better family law system to support and protect those affected by family violence

On 16 March 2017, a Committee of the Australian Parliament adopted an inquiry into how Australia’s federal family law system can better support and protect people affected by family violence.

The One in Three Campaign lodged a short submission to the inquiry producing research evidence that the family violence experiences of men and women in contact with the family law system are quite similar.