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What can I do about domestic and family violence?

By Rebecca Vassarotti - 9 March 2017 5

IMG_0395If you think you don’t know anyone who has been subject to domestic and family violence, you are probably mistaken. Prevalence rates are high. Nationally, analysis of Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) surveys shows that one in four Australian women experience at least one incident of violence from an intimate partner and the Australian Institute of Criminology reports that 23% of all homicides have been at the hands of an intimate partner, with 75% of victims being female. While both men and women are impacted by domestic and family violence, the vast majority of victims are female.

The ACT is not immune, with the Domestic Violence Prevention Council reflecting that the most recently available statistics showing around 9000 ACT women experience violence in a 12 month period. Young women more likely to be impacted than older women, and most violence being at the hand of an intimate partner or family member. The most recent crime statistics released by the ABS showed that in 2015/2016 the offender rates for domestic and family violence charges jumped by 35 percent and services are reporting significant increases in demand, at around 30% higher than in the previous years.

The culture and environments that create these high levels of violence are significant and require a whole of community response to change. We know that we need to change gender stereotypes, need to invest in primary prevention including respectful relationships programs and work together to create greater gender equality.

These are long-term projects and in the meantime, we need to continue to support frontline services that provide help for families who are fleeing domestic and family violence services. Contrary to belief, leaving is not easy and intensive support is needed to give families the chance they need to recover from the trauma and consequences of suffering violence at the hands of a person that they have loved and lived with.

One of these services is the Domestic Violence Crisis Service. They provide services 24 hours a day, seven days a week to ensure that there is someone at the end of the life at the point where people have the courage to leave and need this support. In addition to crisis services, DVCS also provides a range of community programs including support for young people, programs to support the victims of violence to stay in their own services and programs to support men who wish to change their violence and/or controlling behaviour.

DVCS is funding through government funding and donations. Government funding is currently under a cloud as the Federal Government is yet to make a decision about the future of the funding of homelessness services, which this program is funded under,  so there has never been a more important time to support this service.

You have a chance to support this great service. Think about donating, or attend their gala blue and white ball which will be held on 1 April 2017.  The theme of the Ball is ‘keep it local’ which means that all auction items, speakers and the band are all from our local community. This is an opportunity to have a great night out while also supporting a service our Canberra community can not do without out.

Tickets can be purchased from the DVCS via https://dvcs.org.au/

What’s Your opinion?


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5 Responses to
What can I do about domestic and family violence?
1
Serina Huang 10:16 am
09 Mar 17
#

Thank you for sharing. I speak first hand about the value of the work of the DVCS. And this is a fun night.

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2
Serina Huang 11:54 am
09 Mar 17
#

I would also add that in addition to supporting the DVCS, it is really important to develop listening and empathy and practical support for people you know who might be going through something. There is an awful amount of judgement about women who leave a marriage: they get blamed for staying, but also blamed for breaking up a family unit by leaving. I have heard countless times people suggesting a situation was not that bad and a women has made stuff up to her personal advantage. Sadly that can happen, but also a lot of women are left feeling like they have no financial or emotional support when or if they leave. Which probably explains why they then keep going back. For which they then get blamed.

DV is not catching. It is not a disease. It is a complicated issue and it is confronting, but it really needs society’s involvement to help empower and rehabilitate people who have been through trauma.

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3
Blen_Carmichael 12:39 pm
09 Mar 17
#

“DVCS also provides a range of community programs including support for young people, programs to support the victims of violence to stay in their own services and programs to support men who wish to change their violence and/or controlling behaviour.”

On the subject of family violence, I read with horror just a few days ago (as I’m sure all did) that a mother in Moama, Victoria had been charged with the murder of her five year old son (allegedly by drowning), and the attempted murder of her nine year old son.

Only a month before a Melbourne woman pleaded guilty to the murder of two of her children, and infanticide in respect to another. She also pleaded guilty to the attempted murder of a fourth child. She’d driven the car into a lake.

Currently a Cairns woman is awaiting trial for murdering eight children, seven of them being her own.

I wonder if this falls into the category of domestic violence. If so, perhaps you’ll forgive me for being a bit jaded when I’m told that that the answer to reducing domestic violence is that “men” must change their behaviour.

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4
Rebecca Vassarotti 8:37 pm
09 Mar 17
#

Blen_Carmichael said :

“DVCS also provides a range of community programs including support for young people, programs to support the victims of violence to stay in their own services and programs to support men who wish to change their violence and/or controlling behaviour.”

On the subject of family violence, I read with horror just a few days ago (as I’m sure all did) that a mother in Moama, Victoria had been charged with the murder of her five year old son (allegedly by drowning), and the attempted murder of her nine year old son.

Only a month before a Melbourne woman pleaded guilty to the murder of two of her children, and infanticide in respect to another. She also pleaded guilty to the attempted murder of a fourth child. She’d driven the car into a lake.

Currently a Cairns woman is awaiting trial for murdering eight children, seven of them being her own.

I wonder if this falls into the category of domestic violence. If so, perhaps you’ll forgive me for being a bit jaded when I’m told that that the answer to reducing domestic violence is that “men” must change their behaviour.

The incidents you refer to absolutely fall into the category of family violence, are horrific and deeply distressing. The reality is however that they are the minority of cases. As such, I would assume the DVCS has prioritied their limited resources to providing support in areas of greatest need.

Serina Huang said :

I would also add that in addition to supporting the DVCS, it is really important to develop listening and empathy and practical support for people you know who might be going through something. There is an awful amount of judgement about women who leave a marriage: they get blamed for staying, but also blamed for breaking up a family unit by leaving. I have heard countless times people suggesting a situation was not that bad and a women has made stuff up to her personal advantage. Sadly that can happen, but also a lot of women are left feeling like they have no financial or emotional support when or if they leave. Which probably explains why they then keep going back. For which they then get blamed.

DV is not catching. It is not a disease. It is a complicated issue and it is confronting, but it really needs society’s involvement to help empower and rehabilitate people who have been through trauma.

Thanks so much for these important comments. It is so true and points to how we need to act without judgement, in solidarity and with love.

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5
w_l_a 9:32 pm
09 Mar 17
#

It is impossible to find an unbiased article from either side of the argument on the issue of domestic violence. The statistics are often skewed to enhance the writers argument (not in this particular article), or one set of statistics discredited on one side of the argument then the same set used, by the same author, to bolster the other side of the argument. The imbalance of the services offered does not even come close to reflecting the balance of female/male victims. Any time there is a whisper of a male victim the immediate response is that there is more female victims, immedietly shutting down any conversation. I don’t wish to take away from the unfortunately necessary work that DVCS carry out, but we need to have an honest and frank conversation about what happens to male victims after the fact without negating their experience because it happens to women more.

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