New South Wales Pilot Program on Domestic Violence ‘Unsupported by Evidence and Ideologically Based

November 21, 2016 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

But maybe Australia’s Men’s Referral Service that’s been hired by the government of New South Wales to run its pilot program for male victims of domestic violence isn’t as bad as it appears at first. Perhaps, instead of assuming all men who claim to be victims are in fact perpetrators, MRS will take its assignment seriously instead of applying its false, gendered lens to the problem.

Don’t bet on it.

The AG’s department claims the decision to use MRS is based on an evidence-based approach successfully trialled in the UK by Respect, a domestic violence organization. Yet there has been huge controversy in Britain over the Respect approach which many see as placing unnecessary barriers in the way of men who need help. Louise Dixon, a psychology professor formerly at the University of Birmingham but now in New Zealand, sums up the criticism of Respect’s work: “the ethos that informs their practice….is unsupported by the evidence, and is ideologically-based.”

The fact that the Attorney General’s office of NSW claims that an approach that “is unsupported by the evidence and is ideologically-based” is in fact “evidence based” tells us all we need to know. What MRS will do in NSW will be very much as I predicted in yesterday’s post. Bettina Arndt fills us in on just how that’s played out in the past.

It’s hardly surprising that men working with victims around the country are up in arms. Yet this move by the NSW government is entirely in keeping with national domestic violence policy.

At a suicide prevention seminar last year one of the speakers was manager of a male telephone helpline. He spoke about men who ring up saying they are suicidal as a result of being abused, physically and emotionally by their partners.

To the astonishment of the audience, the manager then revealed that when they receive a call from such a male victim they contact the police who track down the man’s personal details by tracing the call. Assuming the male may be a perpetrator the police then contact the man’s partner to check out her side of the story.

Many in the audience were incredulous at this breach of confidentiality and failure of the duty of care to the potentially suicidal client. During questioning the manager revealed government policy determined his organization would lose government funding if they didn’t assume all male victims were most likely perpetrators.

As in the U.S., domestic violence policy in Australia is so bound up in gender-feminist ideology that every effort at reform ends up in the same place – assuming all perpetrators to be male and all victims to be female, despite 40 years of information proving to an absolute certainty the falsity of that assumption. So service providers are faced with a dilemma; they can receive funding to provide services or they can tell the truth, but they can’t do both. Predictably, most choose to remain in business.

And of course, as virulently misandric as this approach to DV is, it’s actually far worse.

I wrote recently about a Swedish politician, Eva Solberg, who denounced her government’s anti-male strategy for combating domestic violence as a “tired gendered analysis” which has comprehensively failed – her country has one of the highest rates of domestic violence in the EU. She quoted the 1700 peer-reviewed papers showing most children growing up in violent homes witness violence from both their parents. “To know this and then continue to ignore the damage done to the children who are today subjected to violence is a huge social betrayal,” said Solberg.

Indeed it is. Current DV policy in Australia and the U.S. ensures that the problem will never improve. As long as women are assumed to be victims and not perpetrators, they can’t receive services to help them stop perpetrating violence against their partners and children. And since reliable studies demonstrate that women initiate DV more often than do men, but are more likely to receive a serious injury in a DV incident, treating female perpetrators would reduce not only male victimization but that of women as well. So tied to its gendered ideology is the DV industry that even helping women isn’t sufficient to wean them away from it.

Solberg is exactly right. Children who grow up with DV tend to commit DV as adults. The refusal to admit that women commit domestic violence means we can never ameliorate the problem and women, children and men will all suffer. The inescapable conclusion about our domestic violence policy is that we’re not at all serious about reducing the incidence of violence in the home. We are entirely content with things just as they are. If we weren’t, we’d take obvious steps to fix the problem. After all, we know what the problem is, who does it, why and how to treat the vast majority of offenders.

Instead, we fund ideology-driven groups that have no intention of doing anything other than receiving their government largess and demonizing men.

As Bettina Arndt makes abundantly clear, that policy will continue throughout Australia, including New South Wales, despite the recent pilot project supposedly aimed at male victims. The result will be no change to policy, no help for male victims or female perpetrators and no refuge for the countless children whose mothers assault them and their fathers without fear of punishment.

The pilot program is a red herring. It’s an excuse to appear to be doing something for male victims while in fact doing nothing. That is the fact of the matter. Let no one be deceived.




National Parents Organization is a Shared Parenting Organization

National Parents Organization is a non-profit that educates the public, families, educators, and legislators about the importance of shared parenting and how it can reduce conflict in children, parents, and extended families. Along with Shared Parenting we advocate for fair Child Support and Alimony Legislation. Want to get involved?  Here’s how:

Together, we can drive home the family, child development, social and national benefits of shared parenting, and fair child support and alimony. Thank you for your activism.

#domesticviolence, #misandry, #Australia, #NewSouthWales, #Men’sReferralService

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