We don’t yet know all the details about the case of “Pumpkin”, the little Chinese girl whose father abandoned her in Melbourne on his way to the US. However, the case stands already as another dramatic failure of the Domestic Violence Act (DVA) because a protection order was in place that failed to protect and perhaps increased the risk of violence. That won’t be noticed though by the media, even less by the domestic violence industry. All we will hear is unbalanced allegations against Mr Xue of domestic violence, omitting any consideration of the violence done to him by the DVA and Ms Xue. We will never hear Mr Xue’s side of the story nor get any insight into his experiences through his eyes. I am not condoning whatever Mr Xue may have done in reaction to his situation. He deserves normal justice for offences he has committed. But I would like to see some realistic analysis of the case and what it says about the DVA.
The appallingly small amount of research undertaken on the DVA has so far failed even to ask the question “is this legislation resulting in any reduction of serious violence between parents and family members?” I always predicted that protection orders in their current form would increase the risk of serious violence from those with that tendency, for at least three reasons.
Firstly, the DVA’s basic unfairness and abandonment of existing principles of justice (e.g. the right to be treated as innocent of allegations until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt; the right to occupy the home and to use the chattels one has paid for; the right to free speech; the right — even for imprisoned criminals properly convicted under normal evidential criteria – to decide on one’s own medical/psychological treatment, education and philosophical beliefs) are likely to increase a respondent’s general resentment and malaise, his fear that his role and relationship with his children will continue to be damaged or severed by his partner in alliance against him with a sexist system deaf to his experiences, his hopelessness about ever having his own perspectives and needs acknowledged, and his sense that he now has little to lose.
Secondly, protection orders stifle communication and thereby remove the safety-valve function of expressing one’s feelings as well as removing any opportunity to resolve the relationship problems.
Thirdly, bringing relationship issues into an adversarial Court system increases general stress and acrimony, and forces respondents to pay lawyers large amounts of money (if respondents want to protect themselves and their children’s welfare in the legal arena).
These and other aspects of the DVA can be expected to result in massive build-up of anger, frustration and anguish, tipping over the edge those respondents with a tendency to serious violence already. For most other people who don’t have significant tendency towards serious violence, the DVA will mainly relieve applicants from the inconvenience of hearing their partners’ communication and feelings, entrench the existing relationship conflicts through further layers of resentment at unfair treatment, reduce any chance of overcoming the relationship problems through communication, and thereby increase the chance that children will be damaged through permanent loss of their family unit.
History has taught us that when the state starts to abandon basic rights and principles of justice for whatever reason, this is a slippery slope requiring increasingly severe injustice to repress those whose rights are being breached. Thus we have Neville Robertson and associates recommending that in order to work properly the DVA will need to treat respondents with even less concern for what once were fundamental civil rights.
So what can we expect? Permanently deprive respondents of their passports so they can’t abandon children at Melbourne airport. Deprive respondents of any money they might have access to so they can’t pay others to harass the applicants or take children away or otherwise dare to act as though they are a parent to their children. Force respondents to move immediately to another town to reduce any chance that an applicant might suffer the trauma of seeing him at the supermarket. Routinely imprison respondents for failing to attend feminist indoctrination programmes, for failing to admit their guilt or for failing to agree with the feminist doctrine when they do attend. Imprison respondents immediately to prevent them from reacting against what is being done to them and to make it easier to force them into the indoctrination programmes (although that would also require the state to abandon international treaties so it can treat convicted prisoners with the same disregard for rights now shown to DVA respondents). Imprison respondents permanently so they can never take revenge for the damage the state has caused them and their children. Prevent applicants and children from initiating any contact with respondents.
When those provisions don’t work, as assuredly they won’t, then I guess the eventual solution will be routinely to kill respondents, at least male respondents, to save hassle and to ensure that applicants will not be inconvenienced further. Oh, and we had better kill all of the respondent’s associates as well to prevent them from acting against the applicant or against the system on his behalf.