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The new UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad al Hussein, criticised Australia in his opening address to the UN Human Rights Council. EPA/Salvatore di Nolfi

Explainer: why is the UN reviewing Australia’s record on torture?

The Australian government is being examined on Monday evening by the United Nations Committee against Torture. Before the independent committee of experts, an Australian government delegation has to answer…
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…
Adrian Peterson has been indicted for injury to a child. Arvee5.0

There is no debate about hitting children – it’s just wrong

US sports continue to struggle with the controversies surrounding Ray Rice’s domestic violence case, and the arrest of Slava Voynov on suspicion of domestic violence. But what has not been a matter of…
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…

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