Advocating for DV support for men too
Supplementary Submission to Domestic violence trends and issues in NSW (Inquiry)
by Men’s Health Australia
The Domestic violence trends and issues in NSW (Inquiry) held a closed ‘Public Forum’ (transcript here) with invited stakeholders on 18th June 2012. The One in Three Campaign was not informed that this event was to take place, nor were we invited to participate. As such we fail to see how it can be called a ‘Public Forum’! We are appalled at the apparently secretive, undemocratic process taken by this Inquiry, and have lodged a supplementary submission as follows:
The One in Three Campaign thanks the Committee for the opportunity to comment upon the deliberative process and the transcript of the round table held on on 18th June 2012.
As the content of the Committee’s Discussion Paper has not been made available to us or to the public, we are unable to respond in any meaningful way to the material in the transcript of the round table other than to say that none of the issues we have brought to the attention of the Committee were addressed.
We understand that the recommendations that were discussed at the roundtable may not be made public as they formed part of the deliberative process at the end of the Inquiry. We do however believe that the One in Three Campaign should have been considered a significant stakeholder, as we were invited by the Committee firstly to lodge a submission to the Inquiry and secondly to present to the Committee in person.
Hence, as the sole organisation participating in the Inquiry with a focus on the neglected issue of the one-third of victims of family violence who are male, we are extremely disappointed that we were not provided with the Discussion Paper nor asked to attend the round table, nor were we informed that the “public’ round table was even to occur. We are appalled that male victims of domestic and family violence and abuse had no voice amongst the 20 or so stakeholders who attended the round table.
We once again ask the Committee to acknowledge that significant numbers of male victims of domestic and family violence and abuse exist and that they are entitled to expect support from state funded agencies. We also ask the Committee to acknowledge that significant numbers of female perpetrators of violence and abuse against men, women, children and the elderly also exist. We draw the Committee’s attention to recently released figures from the Department for Child Protection Western Australia (attached) showing that women made up the greatest proportion of persons believed responsible for substantiated child maltreatment (abuse and neglect) in 2007-08. Unfortunately no other State or Territory authorities have supplied such data – which should be publicly available – since the late 1990s.
We ask the Committee to consider the attached material provided by Mensline Australia (the federally-funded 24/7 telephone counselling service for men) regarding the rights of male victims of family violence to expect the support of government-auspiced services.
We ask the Committee to recommend that state-funded domestic violence services be required to remove all barriers currently faced by male victims when attempting to access health, legal and counselling services currently available to female and children victims of domestic and family violence and abuse. To fail to do so is nothing less than sex discrimination.
We would like to point out to the Committee that this degree of government intervention was necessary in the past to require state-funded sexual assault services to see male victims.
We would remind the Committee of the dreadful impact that discrimination in access to state-funded counselling services has had upon the men who were victims of child sexual abuse covered in the recent Four Corners program on ABC television titled “Unholy Silence” (2nd July 2012). We believe the Committee has the opportunity to be a catalyst for change in an area where contemptible discrimination is occurring and that this discrimination is causing profound suffering and harm.
You can download a copy of the full submission here.
Greg Andresen has run a long slow and effective campaign aimed at forcing NSW and Federal Governments in Australia to address violence against men as well as violence against women and also to use not-misleading, honest statistics in publicity campaigns. He gives an excellent example of the power of patiently, politely and relentlessly pursuing a goal, even if this isn’t well received in Government.