Reducing Domestic Violence
Writing a blog about domestic violence is a new experience for me. I have, in the past, left this topic to my female colleagues. Domestic violence is an inherently gendered crime with the majority of victims female. However the situation has become so bad that I now believe that we all (women and men) should become involved in efforts to address the issue and, after all, most perpetrators are men.
Initiatives that governments and communities should consider to reduce domestic and family violence include:
- A national publicity campaign similar to quit smoking/drink driving to persuade Australians that DV is not acceptable. Even today some people think violence in the heat of the moment is okay.
- A national education program for our schools. Apparently approximately one million children each year witness domestic and family violence. Some of these children believe violence is just part of family life.
- Corporal punishment should be banned in the home as well as schools and other institutions. This was raised as an issue back in the days of the introduction of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Most Australians might still believe that corporal punishment does no harm, but often it occurs when parents are angry or stressed and this is surely modelling very inappropriate behaviour.
- More emphasis for police to remove perpetrators of violence from the family home with the power to insist on tracking devices for men in high risk situations. We all have a right to be safe at home.
- In situations when mothers /women must leave home, they should have access to safe and secure accommodation which is available 24 / 7. Apparently the most likely time for violence to occur is weekends; during the evening. Too many services are closed at these times.
- Women’s refuges must be linked to women’s housing services so that DV victims can quickly start to rebuild their lives, safe in their own home.
- There must be an adequate supply of affordable housing available to DV victims, as too many have to return to their violent partner because there is nowhere else.
- There should be research into the reasons domestic violence is more common in regional areas.
- There should be more consultation with Aboriginal communities about safety initiatives as there are cultural differences to consider.
- Men who are subject to an apprehended DV order should be referred to government funded ‘alternatives to violence’ programs.
- Churches which sponsor peace and justice groups should add domestic and family violence to their agendas and churches which promote male headship in the family should ensure that this does not encourage family violence.