When we think of family violence, we think of the incredible bravery of Rosie Batty, and the abhorrent acts of her husband towards her son. But a lot has happened since then and we’re beginning to comprehend the full extent and anatomy of violence against women.
Me Too. Time’s Up. Believe Women. Dr Blasey-Ford. These movements are here and the groundswell is huge.
Young women have stories to tell that don’t fit into the “wife fleeing a dangerous husband with kids in tow” model.
But they aren’t getting help — because they aren’t being heard and because we don’t have the legislative framework to respond.
It’s time to re-brand family violence for a new generation by making laws that will identify abuse sooner and stop it before it gets worse.
Do you hate men?
Absolutely not. The majority of men are kind and loving partners and family members.
Isn't nonviolent abuse already against the law?
Under the current system in Victoria, nonviolent abuse is only a crime when an ongoing relationship involving violence or the threat of violence has been identified by Police and they have worked with the victim to create the paperwork to lodge an Intervention Order through a Magistrates Court.
This isn't good enough for several reasons:
High Barriers: Many victims being abused would not feel confident or safe undertaking the process to attend appointments with Police, complete legal paperwork, and appear in court. This is daunting even for someone not experiencing abuse. Putting protection behind this high barrier means most victims cannot access it.
Punitive Not Preventative: It is nonsensical to wait until violence has occurred or is an imminent threat before intervening, as for many victim-survivors this has been far too late, and their lives have already been destroyed.
Vague And Inaccessible: This inadequate system not only fails to protect victim-survivors, it is also worded as "family violence," which many young women do not identify with and as a result cannot apply to their situation. Victims cannot report a crime if they don't know what to report.
The only other way abuse may be dealt with by the law is as a civil matter, if a victim organises and finances a private court case to seek damages. This has almost never been carried out successfully in Victoria, which is unsurprising given that just commencing legal action costs thousands of dollars, plus the several thousands of dollars it takes to finance an ongoing court case.
Not all men are abusive, why does your campaign only talk about men?
Most men are loving and caring towards the people in their lives.
But 95% of violent crimes are committed by men.
And one in four female or non-binary folk will experience abuse from a male partner or male family member.
The facts and numbers are extreme enough to prove a societal epidemic of gendered violence. It is gendered because the patterns statistically exist.
It is also wrong for female, trans, gender non-binary, and a-gender individuals to commit violence and abuse, but there is no evidence of this occurring on a societal scale large enough to qualify as a national emergency.