Setting the record straight: the facts about family violence in Australia
Many issues have been raised in the media recently about family violence and responses towards men.
As a leading provider of family violence services for over 20 years, we at No to Violence/Men’s Referral Service would like to shed some light on the issue with the following facts.
1. Family violence and sexual violence is overwhelmingly committed by men against women.1
Women are at least three times more likely than men to experience violence from an intimate partner. Research shows that since the age of 15, 1 in 6 Australian women experienced physical or sexual violence from a current or former partner, compared with 1 in 20 Australian men.1
What’s more, women are five times more likely than men to require attention or hospitalisation as a result of violence from their intimate partner, and five times more likely to report fearing for their lives.2,3
On average, at least one woman a week is killed by a partner or former partner in Australia.
2. NTV/MRS is helping turn the tide against family violence
Since 1993, NTV/MRS has delivered services, support and advocacy to help break the patterns of family violence.
We provide telephone counselling and referrals for people impacted by family violence, taking over 1,000 calls per month. Because we are phone-based, we are available to help people anywhere in Australia.
Our help extends to include people who are using family violence, women who are seeking change for their male partners or family members, and consultations to other agencies requesting family violence support for their clients.
We are also working specifically in Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania. We respond to police referrals for men, and currently proactively call approximately 70,000 men each year to provide the support they need.
3. Minimising risk is critical when responding to family violence
Our job is to make women and children safer. We also know that all cases of reported family violence are complex. That’s why NTV/MRS thoroughly investigates each situation to see what assistance is needed and how we can support the best outcomes for both women and men.
Many of the men we work with view themselves as the victims of family violence, even if this is not actually the case. We engage with all men respectfully to identify their needs, safety and risks, and then provide options about available services that can help if they are experiencing or using violence.
Given that the overwhelming majority of family violence and sexual violence is committed by men against women,1 an important part of our approach is reducing the risk of harm. We work with men where they are at and encourage them to look at their part in the situation. We look honestly at what the research tells us about gender and violence, and take action to minimise the risk of violence to women.
4. A solid evidence base supports the NTV/MRS approach
Our approach to family violence services is grounded in internationally recognised evidence and best practice.
We draw on elements of leading methodologies, including the Common Risk Assessment Framework,5 and models such as Duluth6 and the UK’s Respect.7
5. NTV/MRS will continue to build on its strong track record in improving family violence outcomes
We’ve supported callers for over 20 years and have been proactively calling men in response to police referrals for nearly 10. In that time, we’ve provided assistance, information, counselling, and referrals to additional services, helping over 150,000 men get the support they need and improving outcomes for families.
As the peak body for working with men in Victoria, we’ll continue to provide the necessary assistance and advocacy to put an end to family violence across Australia for good.
- 1. Australian Bureau of Statistics (2013). Personal safety, Australia 2012, Cat. No. 4906.0, Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), Canberra
- Mouzos, J. (1999). Femicide: an overview of major findings. Australian Institute of Criminology Trends and Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice, 124, pp.1–6.
- Statistics Canada. (2003). Family violence in Canada: a statistical profile 2003. Canada: Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Ministry of Justice.
- Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC), 2015.
- http://www.dvrcv.org.au/training/family-violence-risk-assessment-craf, accessed 20/1/17.
- http://www.theduluthmodel.org/, accessed 20/1/17.
- http://respect.uk.net/, accessed 20/1/17.