SEND A MESSAGE TO THE AUSTRALIAN STATE & FEDERAL GOVERNMENTS

To send a message to the Australian Governments that all victims of violence and abuse deserve services and support,

  1. If you use an email client such as Microsoft Outlook, Apple Mail, iPhone/iPod Touch, Thunderbird or Lotus Notes, click here to generate a new outgoing email. If you use a webmail service such as Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, Hotmail or AOL Mail, please manually create a new outgoing email addressed to:

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  2. Click here to find the name of your local member of Federal Parliament. Click on the ‘parliamentary profile’ link to find their email address and add it to your outgoing email.

  3. Copy the suggested email message below and paste it into the body of your outgoing email

  4. If you wish, edit the message to reflect your personal views (this is strongly recommended). Please be polite and respectful while getting your point across. If possible, suggest productive options that could be adopted by your state or federal representatives.

  5. Add your name, address and contact details at the bottom of the message 

  6. Send your email

Suggested email message

To the Federal, State and Territory Ministers for Women, Attorneys General, and the CEO of Our Watch,

Up to one in three victims of sexual assault and at least one in three victims of family violence and abuse is male (perhaps as many as one in two - please refer to the website http://oneinthree.com.au/overview for more details). Almost 40 per cent of victims of domestic homicide are male (one male is killed every ten days). Almost one in four young people are aware of their mum/stepmum hitting their dad/stepdad. Male and female victims of reported domestic assault receive very similar numbers and types of injuries. Males are up to three times more likely than females to have never told anybody about experiencing partner violence. Post-separation, similar proportions of men and women report experiencing physical violence including threats by their former spouse.

While many services have quite rightly been established over the past three decades to support female victims of family violence, the needs of male victims remain largely unmet.

Historically government policies have been based on the assumption that all perpetrators are male and all victims are female, and the policies of current governments are still based on this erroneous position. Indeed, regretfully, the National Council to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children did not include male victims in their otherwise laudable March 2009 recommendations, which have led to the recent establishment of Our Watch. Their report, Time for Action: The National Council's Plan for Australia to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children, 2009-2021, states:

"Why is the Plan of Action focused on women and their children? While both women and men can be perpetrators and/or victims of sexual assault and domestic and family violence, research shows that the overwhelming majority of violence and abuse is perpetrated by men against women... This Plan of Action... focuses primarily on the rights of the majority of victims of domestic and family violence and sexual assault, women and their children."

Why a large minority of victims - at least one third and possibly one half - doesn't deserve support is never explained. The report focuses only on the needs of women, neglecting the government's legal and moral obligation to provide services and support for the substantial male population of victims of sexual assault and family violence:

"Violence against women and their children is wrong. It is a fundamental breach of human rights... No woman should be a victim of sexual assault or domestic and family violence... Australian women and their children have a right to protection from violence... Services [are required to] meet the needs of women and their children."

Using this rationale, Governments would stop providing services to female victims of heart disease or to females who need occupational health and safety programs (as the minority of heart disease and workplace illness and deaths are female). Sensibly they don't do this, so why ignore male victims of family violence and abuse just because they might be in the minority?

The Time For Action report has been enthusiastically supported by the federal government and the Council of Australian Governments. The previous federal Labor government commited $44.5 million over four years to reduce violence against women and their children. Only $0.75 million was commited to expanding counselling services for male victims of domestic violence through Mensline. The current federal Coalition government has committed $100 million to reduce violence against women and their children, with nothing for male victims of family violence. This funding for women is of course laudable, but men need funding for services and support too. This conscious neglect of males is in itself a form of social violence – Australian Governments have human rights obligations that require them to cater equitably for the needs of all, regardless of gender. One in three is enough to reject the politics of ideology. It is time to care for all those in need, whether male or female. Now is the time for action by politicians and community leaders to recognise that a comprehensive approach is required to combat the scourge of family violence.

Thankfully there have been recent moves in this direction. The NSW Government Legislative Council’s Standing Committee on Social Issues' 2012 report on domestic violence trends and issues in NSW found that:

  • "There was a broad recognition among inquiry participants that women offenders and male victims do exist... Of [reported] victims of domestic assault in 2010, 69.2% were female, while 30.8% were male."
  • "Male victims have been much less visible and able to access supports than should be the case"
  • "The experience of [males]... is equally as bad as that of other victims"
  • There is a "gap in services for male victims and the government [should] examine how services can most appropriately be provided to male victims of domestic violence"
  • Males are "in need of special consideration with regard to domestic violence," along with Aboriginal people, older people, people with disability, and several other population groups.

Following in this positive direction, the Australian Public Service Commission's recent circular Supporting Employees Affected by Domestic or Family Violence, stated that, "while [domestic or family] violence against men is not as common [as against women], it should be treated as seriously as violence against women."

I urge you to continue this trend and consider making all services, programs and campaigns for victims and perpetrators of violence and abuse targeted equitably to all that need them - whether male or female.

Yours sincerely,

<Your name, address and contact details>