Late last week I attended a lecture at UTS revealing the NSW Bureau of Crime statistics and research into Domestic Violence. We are committed to being at the forefront of developments in this area and advocating for change and understanding wherever possible. It was great to hear that the NSW Government is committed to reducing Domestic Violence and addressing this chronic issue.
A key driver of these studies is to find a baseline to measure future developments in this area. The rest of the information to be taken away from the research was not so positive.
The study measured the effectiveness of six programs that have been implemented to try and address both re-victimization and re-offending and the bottom line is that these programs have been evaluated as ineffective with the exception of one program, a compulsory program lasting 9 – 12 months with weekly cognitive behavior therapy (CBT). Most notably this program was offered to perpetrators that were in gaol and it was compulsory.
The similar program for non-incarcerated offenders, offering 20 x 2 hour CBT sessions only had a 50% completion rate and was found to be ineffective.
Another of the studies looked at ways of determining who would be likely to re-victimized. This I found most disturbing but in light of the many women I’ve worked with and supported both legally and through more general advocacy I should not have been surprised. The measures taken were ineffective in assessing the likelihood or risk of someone being re-victimized and 70% of women who were re-victimized were not identified by the risk assessment tool.
It is no wonder that so many women feel both desperate and hopeless in the face of DV.
These studies, it should be noted, were only funded to look at those cases of DV which included grievous bodily harm and as most people would be aware Domestic Violence is far more insidious than that and a fuller description can be found on DVNSW website. If you are unsure read through this list of actions that constitute domestic violence:
Swearing and continual humiliation, either in private or in public
Attacks following clear themes that focus on intelligence, sexuality, body image and capacity as a parent or partner.
Putting someone down
Destruction of your property
Abuse of pets in front of family members
Making threats regarding custody of any children
Asserting that the police and justice system will not assist, support or believe the victim
Blaming the victim for all problems in the relationship
Constantly comparing the victim with others to undermine self-esteem and self-worth
Withdrawing all interest and engagement (for example weeks of silence)
Emotional blackmail and suicidal threats
Threats to harm oneself, pets, children or other family members
Systematic isolation from family and friends through techniques such as ongoing rudeness to alienate the
Instigating and controlling the move to a location where the victim has no established social circle or employment opportunities
Restricting use of the car or telephone or internet
Forbidding or physically preventing the victim from going out and meeting people
Complete control of all money
Restricting access to bank accounts
Providing only an inadequate 'allowance'
Not allowing someone to seek or have a job
Coercement to sign documents, take out loans or make false declarations
Using all wages earned by the victim for household expenses
Controlling the victim's pension
Denying that the victim has an entitlement to joint property
Direct assault on the body (strangulation or choking, shaking, eye injuries, biting, slapping, pushing, spitting, punching, or kicking)
Use of weapons including objects
Assault of children
Locking the victim in or out of the house
Forcing the victim to take drugs, withholding medication, food or medical care
Controlling access to medications
Any form of pressured/unwanted sex or sexual degradation by an intimate partner or ex-partner, such as sexual activity without consent
Forcing someone to watch explicit material against their will
Causing pain during sex
Coercive sex without protection against pregnancy or sexually transmitted infection
Making someone perform sexual acts unwillingly
Taking photos or distributing them without the subject’s consent
Criticising or using sexually degrading insults
HARASSMENT AND STALKING
Following and watching
Monitoring someone’s movements
Sending harassing text messages or getting someone else to do it
Telephone and online harassment
Tracking with Global Positioning Systems (GPS) or through social media or online interactions
This and more information can be found at www.dvnsw.org
Emergency help is available by calling 000.
1800RESPECT is the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service.
If you are experiencing Intimate Partner Violence it’s important to make a safety plan. If you suspect someone is experience domestic violence or if you observe it, it is not a private matter. It is a serious and debilitating form of violence that affects our children and our society. Please take action, ask for help and report it.
For family law enquiries send your details to firstname.lastname@example.org