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Domestic violence

Analysis and Comment (43)

Foster parents often receive inadequate emotional and financial support. prudkov/Shutterstock

Foster parents need more support to care for vulnerable children

When children are deemed at risk of abuse or neglect and are removed from the family home, they are placed in out-of-home care, either with foster parents, relatives or in residential facilities. The latter…
People with complex trauma appear like they are always anticipating or responding to a threat. file404/Shutterstock

Complex trauma: how abuse and neglect can have life-long effects

Experiencing trauma has significant implications for mental health. We’ve known this for some time but particularly since the early 1970s after observing and studying the effects of war on American servicemen…
Challenging the culture of male violence at night is just as important – if not more so – than the criminal law’s response to the issue. AAP/David Crosling

Addressing male violence at night requires a cultural shift

The recent killing of 21-year-old Melbourne University student Joshua Hardy is another tragic story of unprovoked, alcohol-fuelled male violence in our community. It is an issue that has animated significant…
A convicted rapist is no role model for this young fan. Darren Staples/Reuters

Time to stop playing nice about misogyny in sports

The persistence of violence against women across the globe is well documented, but what part do sports play in gendered aggression? It seems shocking to claim that sports and violence against women are…
Decisions are difficult and prone to error when risk and protective factors appear to be fairly equal. atikinka/Shutterstock

Risky business: how protection workers decide to remove children from their parents

Imagine you’re a child protection worker who has received a notification from a teacher voicing concerns about a child in her class. The case involves a five-year-old boy named Toby. Toby’s mum has had…
Intimate images are also being used in domestic violence and sexual assault situations – to blackmail victims, or to discourage them from seeking help from the police. Stephan Geyer/Flickr

More than revenge: when intimate images are posted online

“Revenge porn”. It’s when a partner or ex-partner posts nude or intimate pictures or videos online and without consent. And in the absence of better laws, perpetrators are largely getting away with it…
Almost a quarter of Australians believe domestic violence can be excused if the attacker can’t control their anger. Halfpoint/Shutterstock

Why don’t we speak up when we see signs of domestic violence?

Have you cringed when a friend was degraded by her partner in public? Or felt uncomfortable because your friend’s partner continually rings to check her whereabouts? Is your friend’s partner intimidating…
Homicide-suicides are usually perpetrated by men who murder a current or former intimate partner. Lukas Koch/AAP

To prevent murder-suicide we need to better understand offenders

Last week’s tragic deaths of the Hunt family, in what police are treating as a multiple homicide-suicide incident, have left a close-knit community in shock. It is always hard to understand why such events…
One in five Australians believe violence can be excused if the offender later regrets it. craigsmith0423/Flickr

Australians still trivialise and excuse violence against women

The latest National Community Attitudes Survey on Violence against Women (NCAS), released today, shows that most measures of community understanding and attitudes on violence against women have not improved…
Some parents still use physical punishment to control or change their child’s annoying or unacceptable behaviours. Melle V/Shutterstock

Yes, physically disciplining kids is an act of violence

Children endure many forms of violence, from slapping and pushing, to fatal assaults; almost one in five of the world’s homicide victims in 2012 were under 20. The recently released UNICEF report on violence…
Violence that happens behind closed doors and within families is finally being recognised as a crime – not just a “domestic”. Jaybird/Flickr

Violent words, not just deeds, leave a lasting mark on our kids

She showed me the cigarette burns on her arms. Her eyes seemed empty as she slumped in the chair, answering questions with defeated shrugs. Finally she explained that her stepfather had held her down and…
Reducing family violence requires targeting all forms of abuse. Twin Design/Shutterstock

Family violence response must tackle all forms of abuse

The term “domestic violence” typically conjures images of physical assaults perpetrated by men against women and children in the home. But beneath the tip of the iceberg of severe violence lie a myriad…
Breaches are one of the weakest links. Shutterstock

Domestic violence orders need stronger enforcement

Protection orders form a central plank of the various state and territory governments’ response to domestic violence. First introduced in New South Wales in the 1980s and known by a different names across…
Women who’ve lost touch with family and friends, or have no access to funds, turn to emergency accommodation in women’s refuges. Shutterstock

Why doesn’t she just leave? The realities of escaping domestic violence

“Why doesn’t she just leave?” is the common question people ask when trying to understand domestic violence. The answer is far from straightforward. Central to domestic violence is an ongoing pattern of…
Debate surrounding the law’s response to lethal domestic violence has led to significant law reform activity over the last 20 years. AAP/Dave Hunt

Laws on lethal domestic violence should be reviewed – nationally

The law’s response to lethal domestic violence in Australia raises complex issues. It requires a delicate balance to be struck between ensuring a just response to those who kill in response to prolonged…
Until recently, violence against women was not reported prominently or consistently by mainstream media. Why not? Dave Malkoff

Behind media silence on domestic violence are blokey newsrooms

Did the grim story of dapper real estate agent Gerard Baden-Clay’s calculated murder of his wife Allison in April 2012, played out recently in a Brisbane court with a life sentence, make you feel afraid…
Gerard Baden-Clay’s murder of his wife Allison has helped put the spectre of domestic violence firmly back in the national spotlight. How prevalent is it? AAP/Dan Peled

Out of the shadows: the rise of domestic violence in Australia

Once a hidden crime, domestic violence has in recent years emerged as a mainstream criminal justice issue in Australia. Cases such as Queensland man Gerard Baden-Clay’s murder of his wife Allison and the…
Why did the Baden-Clay domestic homicide case in Queensland grab so much media and public attention? AAP/Dan Peled

Intimate partner homicide, the media and the Baden-Clay case

When Brisbane man Gerard Baden-Clay rang police to report his wife Allison missing on April 20, 2012, he set in motion a series of events that would lead to his arrest, trial and ultimately his conviction…
Reforming Victorian homicide law has been a long process, but a bill introduced today is a significant step forward. AAP/Dave Hunt

Victorian homicide law reforms ensure just responses to violence

Victorian attorney-general Robert Clark today introduced a bill into parliament that repeals the offence of defensive homicide. The bill signifies a significant step forward in ensuring just responses…
Not a pretty sight for some. Menzl Guenter

World Cup shines a light on persistent domestic violence

Football can be a violent game. While this year’s World Cup has not been marked by serious violence on the pitch, games are hard fought and there have been a handful of red cards already. Off the pitch…
Pistorius trial has kept violence against women on the frontpage. Kim Ludbrook/EPA

Who is killing women in South Africa? The inconvenient truth

Who is responsible for violence towards women? This question runs like a thread through some of the public discourses swirling around the trial of athlete Oscar Pistorius. In some ways he represents an…
More complex than the bottle. Fight by Shutterstock

Higher alcohol prices don’t always mean less violence

A recent study by researchers at Cardiff University claimed that the number of people who attended hospital for injuries caused by violence has fallen by 12% in the past year. But to what extent can the…
Good urban planning and support services can make a life-and-death difference to victims of family violence. Denizo71/Shutterstock

Better urban planning can reduce the tragedies of domestic violence

Three shocking incidents, in which three children and one adult died, have dominated the news in Melbourne in the past two months. On Easter Sunday, Indiana and Savannah Mihayo were murdered in their grandparents…
One in three women will experience intimate partner violence in their lifetime, a new report from the World Health Organisation has revealed. AAP/Dan Peled

WHO report reveals the greatest risk to women is often in the home

This week, the World Health Organisation (WHO) released a report examining global estimates of violence against women. The report examines two forms of violence – intimate partner violence and non-partner…
The sensationalist coverage of the domestic violence inflicted in public on celebrity chef Nigella Lawson has the potential to normalise the behaviour. EPA/Sebastien Nogier

The media ‘spectacle’ of Nigella Lawson’s domestic abuse

There is something concerning about the media coverage of Charles Saatchi’s violence against his wife, celebrity chef Nigella Lawson. It is the willingness of the news media to reproduce images of Lawson’s…
Globally, one in three women will be beaten in their lifetime. Angela Sevin

Ending violence against women is good for everyone

Gender-based violence is condemned by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Declaration on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women. But globally, one in three women will…
Does the media need to rethink their reporting on violence against women? AAP/Melissa Iaria

Reporting on violence against women not up to par

A journalist and friend once said to me, “everyone thinks they’ve been badly represented by the media". This struck me, as for the past three years Melbourne Law School Professor Jenny Morgan and I have…
Online stalking gets far too much attention, but it’s worth making some changes to prevent it happening to you. Flickr/Ed Yourdon

Stop the trolls: how to prevent cyber stalking happening to you

Recent cases of online abuse against Charlotte Dawson and NRL player Robbie Farah have attracted considerable media attention and triggered public debate about how to respond to this issue. But how big…
Jane Ashton successfully campaigned for the provocation defence to be abolished in Victoria after James Ramage used the defence for killing her sister Julie. AAP Image/ Brent Bignell

Murder or manslaughter? NSW ponders the provocation problem

In Parliament last week, NSW took steps towards better understanding, and potentially solving, the problems posed by the partial defence of provocation. A defence predominately used by men, provocation…
Eileen Creamer was sentenced to a minimum of seven years imprisonment for the defensive homicide of her violent partner. AAP/Julian Smith

Domestic violence: how the law treats women who kill a violent partner

In the vast majority of cases where women kill their partners, there is a history of domestic violence. Isolation as well as often cyclical psychological and physical abuse means leaving home is not only…
Jeannie Blackburn was the victim of horrific domestic violence from a man commended for heroism. AAP/Julian Smith

The ethics of bravery: why a Black Saturday ‘hero’ lost his award

Last week, I received an email with the subject line: “Bravery award for baby killer.” It urged readers to sign a Change.org petition calling on the Royal Humane Society of Australia to rescind a bravery…

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