Whilst the Australian Bureau of Statistics notes that there is no single agreed definition of domestic violence, we acknowledge domestic violence to include offences under the NSW Crimes Act 1900 and the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007:
- Physical assault such as punching, hitting, kicking, pushing, slapping, choking or the use of weapons
- Sexual assault such as forced sexual activities by either watching or participating
- Emotional abuse such as making one feel worthless, constant critique of others
- Verbal abuse such as yelling, shouting, swearing or name-calling
- Social abuse by isolating an individual
- Damaging property such as furniture or the property in order to threaten or intimidate
- Financial abuse such as controlling money
- Harm to an animal
Who are affected?
Current state legislation in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, the ACT, the Northern Territory and South Australia now extends domestic violence as occurring between intimate partners, relatives, family members, carers and children.
The most recent information on violence in Australia comes from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Personal Safety Survey in 2012 which found a reported one in four women to have experienced at least one incident of violence by an intimate partner they may or may not have been living with as well as one in three victims of family violence to be male. It is worth acknowledging however that these statistics also measure one off instances of abuse which classify as domestic violence in the broad definition, therefore there is risk that these statistics do not provide an accurate holistic analysis of the frequency or severity of the situation.
Recently, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced a $100 million women’s safety package which includes $30 million directed to frontline legal assistance providers for victims of family and domestic violence and $17 million focused on helping protect women in their homes with security assessments and practical measures such as changing locks, scanning for bugs and installing CCTV cameras. Through this initiative, Turnbull advocated for Australia to become a country that respects women and to end the national shame of domestic violence.
A key oversight however includes the distinct lack of funds directed towards assisting male victims of domestic violence with only $2 million of the package going towards rehabilitating male perpetrators.