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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New national telephone counselling service 1800 RESPECT launched

From today Australians who have experienced – or are at risk of – physical or sexual violence will have access to a new national telephone counselling service, with the launch of 1800 RESPECT, (1800 737 732).

Rather than just acting as a referral service, qualified counsellors from the NSW Rape Crisis Centre will deliver professional, specialist counselling services on a free and confidential basis 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Those, especially in rural and remote areas, who haven’t had ready access to this level of professional counselling before can now receive both instant advice and ongoing support and assistance.

Launched today as a vital telephone service the service will be expanded over coming months to utilise technology and recognise newer forms of communication with confidential on-line services giving women more options about the way that they seek support.

This service will meet the needs of people with disabilities, indigenous Australians, young people, and callers from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. The new counselling service will provide support for men, in addition to the additional funding the Government has also committed to Mensline to improve counselling services for male victims.

If you are at risk of or have experienced physical or sexual violence, you can call the free 24 hr national counselling service on 1800 RESPECT, (1800 737 732).

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Domestic abuse on "Teen Mom," again (USA)

Amber punches, slaps and kicks the father of her baby. Why are we so much more tolerant 0f female-on-male violence?

Last night's episode of MTV's "Teen Mom" featured a textbook case of domestic violence -- but not the kind we're actually used to seeing or hearing about. This was a case of female-on-male violence: Amber punches, slaps and kicks Gary, the father of her child. There is name-calling and intimidation, and for much of it daughter Leah is right there, sometimes literally in the middle of the fight.

These scenes are as predictable as they are disturbing: Amber choked and slapped Gary on the last season of the show. At the time, some questioned whether there was a double standard at play since the network aired Amber's attack but censored footage of "Jersey Shore's" Snooki being punched by a guy in a bar (after catching heat for running uncensored footage in a preview for the episode). This time around, MTV made sure to take the issue seriously, peppering domestic violence PSAs throughout the episode and even continuing the conversation online with a special interview with the couple about their volatile relationship followed by an analysis by a domestic violence expert.

That's great, really, but I can't help wondering what the public reaction would be if the direction of the violence in their relationship was reversed. It's hard to imagine comparable male-on-female violence continuing to air, season after season, without major outcry or intervention.

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Campaign hit by false stats

A domestic violence campaign has been tarnished with twisted crime statistics and a critical Ombudsman's report, amid claims State Minister Gail Gago's Office for Women has been hijacked by "feminists pushing a political agenda".

Premier Mike Rann has been asked to shift the Don't Cross the Line domestic violence campaign from Ms Gago's portfolio to the Attorney General's Department, so the campaign takes into account violence in the home against men and children as well as women.

Ms Gago has confirmed there were "transcribing errors" in the Don't Cross the Line campaign, and the data was not handled with due diligence. Nor was the false information corrected after it was challenged.

Ms Gago declined to say if anyone in her office had been disciplined.

The statistics inflated instances of domestic violence against women, wrongly saying, for example, that 95 per cent of domestic violence involved a male perpetrator and a female victim. All violence against women was also referred to as domestic violence.

There were seven more incorrect facts, according to the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC). The organisation Men's Health Australia complained to SA Ombudsman Richard Bingham after the Office For Women (OFW) refused to correct the statistics when contacted almost a year ago. The Ombudsman upheld the complaint.

Mr Bingham concluded the OFW "originally published some false and/or misleading information on the Don't Cross the Line website".

"My opinion is that this was unreasonable and wrong administrative action," he found.

"My view is that OFW failed to correct information on the website once the possible errors were brought to its attention (and) failed to act with reasonable diligence and speed once possible errors were brought to its attention."

Greg Andresen, of Men's Health Australia, wrote to Mr Rann this month requesting the campaign be moved to the Attorney-General's Department but said he was yet to receive a reply.

"They replaced the original misleading statistics with a page that only talks about violence against women by men - they are still portraying relationship violence as something that men do to women alone," Mr Andresen said.

"We are fully supportive of all attempts to reduce violence against women but this campaign infers that only women are victims.

"We feel they are feminists pushing a political agenda."

Ms Gago said "domestic violence campaign is not a competition between men and women".

"It should be noted that SA recently passed new domestic abuse legislation which is gender-neutral," she said. A research study released this year by Perth's Edith Cowan University found male victims of partner abuse were reluctant to seek help because of fears they would not be believed or instead blamed.

For help with domestic violence issues, ring Domestic Violence Helpline, ph 1800 800 098.


26 September 2010

Sunday Mail, South Australia, Page 22

Copyright 2010 News Ltd. All Rights Reserved

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Misleading claims on domestic violence in Australia (UK)

False statistics inundate our lives. They gush like a torrent from government ministries on to front pages the world over. Never, or rarely, is there enough time to check them all.

But one Australian group has checked misleading claims about domestic violence by calling on the Ombudsman to arbitrate. Men’s Health Australia won its case that the claims made by the South Australian government were misleading. Very similar claims are often made in the UK.

The South Australian government had been promoting an anti-domestic violence campaign called “Don’t Cross the Line”, very much like the UN sponsored anti-domestic violence campaigns in other Western countries. Among the claims made by the Office for Women in South Australia - which is part of the Attorney-General’s Department - was that women were far more adversely affected by domestic violence than men.

Men’s Health Australia challenged the claim, and after getting little response, appealed to the the South Australian Ombudsman, Richard Bingham, who found in its favour, concluding that the Office for Women had been guilty of unreasonable and wrong administrative action after failing to correct false and/or misleading information on the campaign website.

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Feminists 'tilt' figures

The issues of child protection and domestic violence have been hijacked by politically motivated feminist cliques, according to a coalition of men's groups.

The claim came after an ombudsman's report found bureaucrats guilty of "unreasonable and wrong administrative action" after failing to correct false and misleading information that promoted the idea men were overwhelmingly responsible for domestic violence.

South Australia's Office for Women presented erroneous statistics, such as 95 per cent of domestic violence involves a male perpetrator and a female victim, the ombudsman found. Raw data show that, overall, at least one in three victims are male.

Men's Health Australia spokesman Greg Andresen said the SA Ombudsman's report should make the Gillard Government think twice about rolling back the shared parenting reforms introduced to family law by the Howard government -- which effectively guarantee fathers some level of access to their children in the event of marital breakdown.

"The picture seems to be emerging of offices of women around the country -- who advise state and federal ministers -- having taken deeply feminist lines on domestic abuse and child protection," Mr Andresen said.

"These bureaucrats have a strong feminist perspective -- and that's probably appropriate for people concerned with women's issues.

"But the problem is that when governments roll out programs relating to children, what gets rolled out is a program for women, not one that has equal regard for men and women.

"The conventional wisdom among these people is that the only perpetrators of domestic violence are men and the only perpetrators of violence against children are men.

"There is a wealth of research that shows that men are almost as likely to suffer domestic violence or abuse."

Laurie Nowell, Sunday Herald Sun, 12 September 2010, Section 1, page 28.

Copyright 2010 News Ltd. All Rights Reserved.