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Female on male domestic violence - fact or fiction?

How big is the problem of Domestic Violence against men really?

By Dr Elspeth McInnes | 10 September 2016



Is there women-on-men domestic violence? - stock photo source: Bigstock.com

How big is the problem of Domestic Violence against men

and what should be done?

The question of domestic violence against men is one which is often raised with me by young women who worry about 'being fair' to men.

After all, when the media does speak about domestic violence it usually refers to women as victims and men as perpetrators.

Men's groups are active in promoting the idea that women also perpetrate domestic violence claiming it is unfair that there are no men's shelters for men trying to leave a violent relationship.

There have been shelter services established for men in the past. Too few men turned up to justify the services, so they closed.

Women's violence against men is not often reported in the media because it rarely meets the threshold of criminal conduct.

Violence against men is regularly reported in crime reports of assaults and homicides by men on men.

Woman perpetrators in domestic violence are often powerless - Image source: Bigstock.com


Statistics regarding personal violence in Australia overwhelmingly and persistently show that men are the greatest source of violence against men.

Men's reports of women's physical violence against them mainly refer to superficial assaults involving hands and fists resulting in minor bruising.

Men are much more likely to use weapons (knives and guns and other objects such as garden spades, hammers, vehicles, strangulation, stomping, cords, chains) compared to women's assaults on men.

The incidence of death and injury to women victims makes such assaults more reportable.

Domestic violence is a practice of control of other family members. In order to be effective, it must produce compliance with threats.

Women's violence is often ineffective in that most men say they do not live in fear of a woman who uses violence.

Violence can also be defensive. In cases where women have used lethal violence against men there is usually a long history of his violence towards her and her belief that he will kill her prompts her violence.

For every five dead intimate partners, four are women and 1 is a man who used violence against women.

See the case of Heather Osland as an example.

The physical consequences of women's violence against men are typically superficial and rarely require medical treatment. Men's psychological responses vary according to the level of choice available to them.

Men are much less likely to have primary care of dependent children and are much more likely to have a job which can support them if they choose to leave the relationship.

Care of children and lack of income together prevent women from leaving, whereas most men can choose to end the relationship without such constraints.

Men's activism to present themselves as victims of women's violence has grown with the internet capacity to draw together people with similar ideas to campaign for men as victims. There is no actual evidence that men's victimisation of violence from women has increased.

Domestic violence - Image source: Bigstock.com


Men's relationship to reporting women's violence against them is complicated by whether they initiated the violence. Men appear to be able to report violence against them by men when they are victimised.

Men have capacity to walk away from the violence if they choose to do so because it is rarely so severe as to incapacitate them. eg. 130cm woman punches 180cm man - he holds her arms and tells her to stop it and is strong enough to do so.

He would be asked why he did not simply leave or stop the violent encounter.

Men are doing a great job presenting themselves as victims, ignoring the annual death toll of more than one woman a week at the hands of her partner or ex-partner every year in Australia.

The wider community should be informed that men are the greatest threat to men and get on with attending to reducing that.

The true level of threat which women present to men is insignificant.

Stopping men's violence to other men and boys would be much more impactful.

Dr Elspeth McInnes AM
Researcher Sociologist


Dr Elspeth McInnes AM Dr Elspeth McInnes AM is a researcher sociologist in the School of Education at the University of South Australia, and is also a member of the SingleMum.com.au Expert Opinion Panel. She has a long history of advocacy for single mothers through the National Council of Single Mothers and their Children (NCSMC), the Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS) and Women Everywhere Advocating Violence Elimination (WEAVE ). In 2006 Elspeth was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia for her work on behalf of single mothers. Read more about Dr Elspeth McInnes on her bio page here...







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What does it mean to be a single mum?Of course, the

kids

are the most important thing in a single mum's life. Kids are the focus and always have been. But along with the children, there are other matters that can confuse a single mum's life.

Centrelink

plays a big part of a single mother's life, mainly because this is where a large percentage of single mums get their finances from. Centrelink are the source from where the

single mother pension

, or as it is otherwise known, the single parent payment comes from. The single mother pension is a subsistence amount, but just the same, it is money to live on, and so it is important, no matter if it is called single parent payment, single mother pension or whatever Centrelink welfare classes it at the time

Often, single mums come out of a

divorce

or defacto relationship only to find that their troubles have just begun, and find that their first step leads them towards Family Law - it's time to engage a lawyer.
There are more than just Centrelink finance problems to worry about, as mentioned before, but also

child custody

issues. Child custody is something that hits right at the heart of

single mums

. If a single mother's ex husband or ex partner has been a domestic violence perpetrator, the mum may be greatly worried about child custody. They worry that their kids won't be safe with their spouse, who has already proven to be abusive because they caused

domestic violence

, which resulted in a divorce or separation.

Even so,

Family Court

will often still order a form of child custody named

Shared Parenting

. Shared Parenting is a form of child custody division of time or parental responsibility between the parents. Mother's often look for a good divorce lawyer to try to avoid share parenting with an abusive ex-spouse after divorce, however in many cases Shared Parenting is still the outcome after the divorce, no matter how good the divorce lawyers have been. They will often settle for visitation at a contact centre or access centre where fathers or mothers are supervised during child custody access.

Please remember the bigger font words,because we will use it often in our website.