Stop. Just stop asking why a woman is so stupid and so weak when she stays in an abusive relationship. There’s no answer you can possibly understand.
Your judgment only further shames abused women. It shames women like me.
There was no punch on the very first date with my ex-husband. That’s not normally how abusive marriages start. In fact, my first date was probably pretty similar to yours: he was charming, he paid attention to me, and he flattered me.
Of course, the red flags were there in the beginning of my relationship. But I was young and naïve, probably much like you were in the beginning of your relationship.
Except my marriage took a different turn than yours.
An abusive relationship takes time to build. It’s slow and methodical and incessant, much like a dripping kitchen tap.
Read the rest of this article here.
An abusive marriage takes time to build. It’s slow, methodical and incessant, much like a dripping kitchen tap.
Sally Challen was convicted of her husband Richard’s murder and handed a 22-year sentence. Sally, who doesn’t deny bludgeoning him to death with a hammer in 2010, can now appeal against her conviction because UK law now recognises that domestic violence can include ‘coercive control’.
UK law now recognises that domestic violence can’t always be quantified simply in bruises and broken arms, but may also include “coercive control”, where it’s not just a person’s physical integrity that’s violated, but their human rights.
Sally's legal team will submit fresh evidence that they say shows Richard humiliated her, isolated her, lied to her about his affairs with other women, controlled her finances, and raped her, after she kissed one of his friends on the cheek. Once, when they had guests for dinner, he threw the entire meal Sally had cooked, along with plates, into the bin.
Read the full article here
An analysis by the ABC of statistics from WA Police reveals the number of family violence offences in the state has risen sharply.
Family violence offences, including assault and threatening behaviour, have surged more than 100 per cent in the past decade.
Read the full story here
Victorian Government offers a new package of more than $6.3 million in funding for prevention of family violence partnerships
Specialist Canberra legal service helping family violence victims, disabled could shut its doors within months
A specialist legal and social work service that helps some of Canberra's most vulnerable avoid evictions, including those fleeing family violence, could be forced to shut its doors by July.
The free service has been run by Canberra Community Law since 2014, helping residents with disabilities, indigenous Canberrans and those experiencing family violence facing eviction and homelessness.
While it has been funded by philanthropic foundations since July 2014, those grants from the Snow Foundation and Clayton Utz Foundation are set to end in July this year, leaving the law centre without money to keep it running.
Law centre executive director Genevieve Bolton said the service, called the socio-legal practice clinic (SLP), was the first of its kind in the ACT - bringing a social worker and lawyer in to work "hand-in-hand" with highly vulnerable people facing complex legal and social situations.
"The majority of clients are facing eviction proceedings often as a result of coming into rental arrears, property condition issues and neighbourhood issues," she said.
"But in order to maximise their prospects of people actually achieving sustainable housing, we understood we had to help unpack some of the underlying issues that were actually leading to the legal problems."
Of the 79 clients it helped last financial year, 77 per cent had a disability; 87 per cent had Centrelink payments as their main source of income and 60 per cent reported facing issues of family violence.
A possible indicator of the complexity of the work the clinic handles was the 105 actual cases it managed for those 79 clients, with several needing help with more than one legal issue.
Ms Bolton said the law centre wanted to ensure the clinic was achieving its aims, and had commissioned two "independent, external reviews" of the SLP clinic in the years since its inception.
"The independent external evaluation of the [initial] project found it led to more sustainable outcomes," she said.
"From the clients feedback to those reviews, it showed it was not only addressing their legal needs abut was providing vital support to help them address their social needs."
While Ms Bolton said the centre had urged the territory government to fund the $90,000 a year it cost to keep the clinic running, in a submission to this year's ACT budget.
She said for many clients, the clinic had "often meant the difference between being evicted or accessing public housing in a timely way".
"We've done the hard yards in terms of developing the program, we've been able to attract philanthropic funding, and we're had two independent evaluations which found it be highly effective," she said.
"Having seen the results and value that the program provides, we're now asking the ACT government to come and support this level of intensive assistance for some of the community most vulnerable people."
The government has previously said it does not comment on budget deliberations.
This article was written by Daniel Burdon and has been copied from here.
Two years on from Victoria's landmark report into domestic violence, victims still fear for their safety when attending country courts.
The Victorian Government has invested millions of dollars in court security and video facilities, but the problem of victims and offenders coming face-to-face has persisted.
The Loddon Campaspe Community Legal Centre has raised the alarm about family violence victims feeling vulnerable while waiting to be checked by security at smaller courts.
Some legal professionals have expressed concern that their clients are still at risk because of a lack of space, despite some safety measures being introduced at court buildings.
Court security has improved at the larger Bendigo court complex in recent times, and a metal detector has been installed at the Castlemaine court.
But community lawyer Rob Southgate, who often travels to Maryborough, has still noticed tension at that local court.
"They have a similar security system set up there but obviously it's a smaller court, so you still tend to have applicants and respondents standing side-by-side," he said.
"Then you get into court and the court's not overly large.
Court security issue raised in Parliament
A Liberal State MP has invited Victoria's Attorney-General to visit the rundown Maryborough courthouse, to further push the case for repairs.
Member for Ripon Louise Staley, whose state electorate covers the town of Maryborough, raised the issue of court safety in the Victorian Parliament last week.
"The Maryborough court is by far the busiest and in the poorest condition," she said.
Ms Staley said the building needed urgent works, but Court Services Victoria said it had already installed a registry counter and entry screening to create a safer environment.
The agency responsible for the state's courts said it was conducting ongoing assessment and priority maintenance upgrades.
She said she had spoken to victims who found the court experience difficult and confronting.
"We have victims, perpetrators, the police and lawyers all milling around out the front of the court because there is no way to divide them with separate doors," Ms Staley said.
"Unfortunately, Central Goldfields remains with one of the highest rates of family violence."
Royal commission recommended court upgrades
This week marks four years since the death of 11-year-old Luke Batty, who was killed by his father on Victoria's Mornington Peninsula during cricket practice.
His mother Rosie Batty became a high-profile campaigner against domestic violence, and her son's death triggered a royal commission into family violence.
When Victoria's royal commission into family violence handed down its final report in 2016, it recommended safety upgrades at regional courts in Victoria.
The Kyneton court has closed for renovations until mid-2018, with matters being heard at the nearby Castlemaine court instead.
Security officers and screening was established late last year at Maryborough, but some legal practitioners still think the court needs further upgrades.
"Obviously the officers are doing a sterling job," Mr Southgate said of the security staff.
"They try their hardest to try to make sure everyone is appropriately distributed around the court, but obviously the court not being overly large makes that challenge," he said.
Room for technology improvementsMr Southgate also said there had been some trouble with technology systems in the courts.
"I think it was recommended that there would be video links to court if indeed an applicant was feeling a bit apprehensive and didn't want to turn up to court," he said.
"They could use that as an alternative means of having their story heard."
He wants to see more encouragement for victims to give evidence remotely during court proceedings if it made them feel more comfortable.
Victoria Legal Aid has also suggested technology could make the legal process smoother for applicants.
Associate director of family violence response Leanne Sinclair said she wanted court users to have legal services available at their fingertips through their phones or computers.
"We've seen more recently the rollout of online applications for intervention orders," she said.
"A person can get onto their computer and complete the forms necessary to initiate an application for an intervention order.
"Hopefully in the coming months that will be more widespread across Victoria."
Specialist units at Victoria Police
From June, Victoria Police's 34 existing family violence units will become investigative centres with dedicated detectives and practitioners embedded into teams.
Over the next three years, these specialists detectives will be trained to respond to high-risk or escalating cases of family violence.
A police spokesman said the trained investigators would understand the complexities of family violence, ensure effective risk assessment, evidence collection and identify primary aggressors.
The statewide rollout of the specialist family violence policing model will be completed by June 2020.
This article was written by Stephanie Corsetti and copied from here.
On Friday, the Financial Counselling Association of WA, of which I am chief executive, was asked to elect a financial counsellor to attend a press conference with Water Minister Dave Kelly.
The minister was announcing revolutionary changes to the way Water Corporation was working with people in financial hardship.
We were thrilled to support it. Water Corporation, led by the minister, recently undertook a review of their financial hardship policies and in consultation with financial counsellors in WA introduced a raft of changes to more actively support people who are struggling.
They started by sorting out customers who 'can't pay' from the customers who 'won't pay' and realised that they needed to incentivise and support 'can't pay' customers rather than tie up precious resources in debt collection from people who don't have the money.
Staff at the Corporation personally visited these customers and offered an opportunity for them to retain their water connection by paying a monthly amount on a regular basis. If they then stick to the arrangement their debts would be considered paid.
This is such a great initiative, widely supported by community services and financial counsellors, who try to mediate resolutions for people in financial hardship with all the utilities. The work that the Water Corporation has been doing is unprecedented and sets a great example for other providers.
We agreed to hold the press conference at our venue, a humble building in East Perth where we operate the National Debt Helpline. As we were waiting for the Minister to arrive we saw all the media arrive. Every Perth news channel, online news, radio and print. I was thinking, this is great, such a positive response.
Then I remembered that the Minister for Water was also the Minister for Fisheries and had hit the headlines that morning on a story on WA's white shark population.
I quickly thought, oh that's why we have so much media, but never mind — at least we will have some positive news with the Water Corporation story first.
The press conference started, with the Minister and one of our financial counsellors, Seema D'Cruz, poised to answer inquiries on how the new changes were working for customers.
This went reasonably well, with some brief, unremarkable questions from the journalists.
As soon as that part of the press conference was over, the Minister indicated he was happy to take questions. The hounds were unleashed.
They quizzed the minister relentlessly about 'what are you doing to keep people safe at the beach?'
This part of the press conference lasted considerably longer.
It became very clear that the Water Corporation announcement was a necessary inconvenience, so the journalists could talk to the Minister about sharks.
I have to say the only sharks I was seeing was in the pack of journalists circling the minister.
I screamed in my mind, MORE WOMEN DIE AT THE HANDS OF THEIR INTIMATE PARTNERS THAN ALL SHARK DEATHS IN AUSTRALIA – NINE WOMEN THIS YEAR SO FAR BY IF ANYONE IS INTERESTED!
How could so much attention be given to shark bite incidents (albeit shark bites being very distressing) when we know that the scourge of family violence in this country is rife?
Women are injured, maimed and killed at an unimaginable rate and yet this pack of journalists was more concerned about what the Minister was going to do about sharks swimming in their own natural habitat.
Is this really what we have become? How obsessed we are with counting shark numbers, tagging sharks, setting up aerial patrols, drum lines, shark nets, surf lifesaving, warning systems and the like? Spending money on public servants who then spend time managing the "problem", developing policy and programs?
The media frenzy every time there is a shark sighting is incomparable to any other type of death.
I think we would drain the ocean if as many Australians died of shark bites as women do at the hands of violent partners. Forty-nine women in Australia in 2017, if you are interested.
I looked at media on Saturday hoping to see the story on the amazing changes from the Water Corporation. Nothing, not one word.
The shark comments made headlines, though. Big stories, small stories, comment pieces telling us 'the science is in', we have double the number of sharks than the east coast, never mind that we have warmer water and a bigger coastline.
They told us of the 15 fatal shark bite incidents in WA in the last 17 years. Yes, let's not forget the numbers!
How's this for numbers? Two women died between Christmas and the New Year in WA alone at the hands of their partners. Where is your outrage on that? Where is your front page and editorial and questions to the Minister responsible for the Prevention of Family Violence?
I am certainly not unsympathetic to those people and families affected by shark attacks and deaths.
However, let's have some perspective. If we want a debate about 'safety' in Western Australia let's start talking about the impact of violence against women and children, violence we know leads to horrific consequences for this generation and future generations and needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency.
And as a last comment, and the whole reason for the press conference, let's applaud the Water Corporation and its minister for addressing the needs of the most financially vulnerable in the community by developing a dignified and realistic way forward and raise the challenge to the other utilities in WA to follow suit.
This article was written by Bev Jowle, the Executive Officer for the Financial Counselling Association of WA and has been copied from here.
The Women’s has today launched A Future Free from Violence, a strategy outlining our focus areas for preventing violence against women.
Intimate partner violence contributes eight per cent of the disease burden in Victorian women aged 18-44 and is the leading preventable contributor to illness, disability and death.
CEO Dr Sue Matthews said as a specialist hospital, the Women’s was in a unique position to intervene early and assist women and their children to safety and recovery from violence.
“Family violence is a health issue. Our vision is a future free from violence in which healthy, respectful relationships are the norm,” Dr Matthews said. “Achieving this vision requires a holistic strategy for health care that incorporates prevention through education and cultural change, early identification and intervention, first line and crisis responses, and therapeutic programs that support recovery.”
The strategic focus areas for the Women’s are:
Prioritise the safety and wellbeing of our people exposed to violence professionally or personally.
Educate and support our people to enhance their capacity, capability and comfort in sensitively inquiring about violence.
Promote a culture of gender equity for our patients and our people in which women are safe, respected and valued members of the community.
Conduct innovative research to enhance our knowledge, inform our specialist services and contribute to the evidence base of violence against women as a health issue.
Provide state-wide leadership to the health sector and advocate for the role and resourcing of hospitals in responding to violence against women and family violence.
Influence and inform policy and sector reform on gender equity, violence against women and family violence.
The Women’s, with its regional partner Bendigo Health, has been leading the state-wide roll out of the Strengthening Hospitals Response to Family Violence which includes training front line health staff across the state in how to identify, respond and support women who have experienced family violence. To date, 3000 healthcare staff have been trained.
The health impact of violence against women
One women dies every five days in Australia due to family violence. One in six Australian women have experienced physical or sexual violence from a current or former partner.
Women who experience violence are twice as likely to experience depression, stress and anxiety disorders, self-harm and suicide attempts, sleeping and eating disorders, and lower self-esteem, and are almost twice as likely to use alcohol and other drugs compared to women who live free from violence.
The sexual and reproductive health consequences include women having less reproductive control, increased sexually-transmitted infections, and higher rates of pregnancy complications and terminations.
The gynaecological issues include vaginal bleeding and infections, chronic pelvic disorders, urinary tract infections, fistulas, painful sexual intercourse, and sexual dysfunction.
Violence against women costs an estimated $21.7 billion a year to the Australian economy.
The Royal Commission into Family Violence identified the role of hospitals in mitigating these impacts through primary prevention, and early identification and response to family violence. Recommendation 95 outlines that the Victorian Government resource public hospitals to implement a whole-of-hospital model for responding to family violence, drawing on evaluated approaches in Victoria and elsewhere (within three to five years).
The article was copied from here.
Like the rest of the community, Christian churches are wrestling with domestic abuse and the pain that it causes. But as we listen carefully to victims of abuse and take them seriously, I believe we can be places of healing and hope.
It shouldn't have been any surprise to find that there's domestic abuse in church communities. Of course there is.
Sometimes it's at the fringe, with families that we hardly ever see. Sometimes an abused woman in the wider community comes to us for help without her husband. Sometimes the victim is a woman (or in one case I know of, a man) who comes to church, while the partner is not a believer.
But sometimes abuse occurs even at the hands of those the pillars of the church community. We know this, and this year my denomination (the Anglican Diocese of Sydney) apologised for it.
What I've learnt is how I've been blind to it too often. Abusers can be good at cultivating pastors like me.
They make sure that they win over the minister by telling us that their spouse is having mental troubles, by asking for prayer, or by getting us to doubt their partners. They impress us with their willingness to help and with their piety.
They confide in us.
And what happens in a domestic abuse situation is, by its nature, private.
The signs are hard to spotA family can present as fairly normal by the time the tears have been wiped away and the bruises covered.
A woman with small children seems depressed — this is not unusual, is it? She's just struggling with tiredness. And who wants to be thought of as a failure, when Christians put such a high value on family?
In one case I know of, a man who was studying for the ministry in a residential bible college was persistently abusive and violent to his wife. This all occurred while he had fellow students as his next-door neighbours, who noticed nothing. The couple both carried on as if nothing was wrong. It wasn't until his wife decided to leave that he was exposed.
There are cases that are more complicated than that. Violence is much easier to spot than emotional abuse. There are often mental health issues at play, sometimes because the abuse has triggered them. Sometimes a spouse holds out hope that there may be healing and reconciliation, even though she has been deeply hurt by her partner.
Pastoring amid abuseRecently, though, through the courage of victims and through compulsory training offered to ministers by the Diocese, I've learnt a number of things about pastoring in the midst of domestic abuse.
We ministers are trained to talk. But the first lesson is … listen. And listen hard. My job is not to fix the problem, or to make a judgement as to who is right and who is wrong. My job is to listen, and to believe. Abuse victims in the church (as elsewhere) have been silent because they feared that no-one would believe them. But finding someone who believes them can be a life-saver.
The second thing I've learnt is that I am not there to fix the problem. There are experts in marriage counselling, domestic abuse counsellors, and welfare agencies. These all have a part to play. Some matters need to be referred to the police. What do I do? I listen, pray, and I speak of the hope and love of Jesus.
But there's always a need for practical help. And this is where church communities can, in my experience, be literally life-saving (that was an expression one victim of abuse used).
In one situation I know of, a victim received several rounds of groceries, and a squad of blokes from a men's bible study group who cleaned her house because she had to move. Other victims have been given a shed to put their things in, emergency accommodation for them and their kids, and someone to attend court with them.
Reflecting on our teachingsI've also learnt that what I teach about marriage needs to be done with an awareness that a percentage of people listening will have some experience of an abusive relationship.
Christians believe in practising forgiveness. They believe in a pattern of love which is sacrificial, especially for husbands. In Christian marriage, we are called to lifelong union, in which we seek the good of our partner above our own.
These ideals are a beautiful and life-affirming vision. But in an abusive relationship they can become warped beyond recognition, such that a victim will believe she has to submit to the abuse of her spouse.
We pastors need to be clear. Isn't it just obvious that emotional, sexual and physical abuse is wrong in a marriage?
You would think so, but that's not the reality that many people live with. The evidence is there in the testimony of the victims I've met and read about.
We thought we were teaching one thing, but it was heard by some couples as meaning something else.
It turns out we do need to spell it out: it simply isn't Christian to treat your spouse as there to meet all your needs. It is not acceptable to subject them to your rage.
It is not a form of Christian spousal love to control, dominate, or hurt your wife; and to hear that the beautiful Scriptural picture of Christian marriage is used to justify this behaviour makes me sick to the stomach. It's an offence to the name of Jesus Christ himself.
Where to next?Where does the church go from here? Denominations need to work hard to understand the needs and to provide training, resources, and support — and a lot of work is going on in this arena.
The front line, however, is the local church, where people gather in all their complexity and with all their baggage. The problems can seem overwhelming. The poison of abuse can seem to infect everything. Yet here's the miracle: the grace of God given to us in Jesus Christ gives us a vision of a better way.
A community of Christ's people is a community with a mission to be a place of refuge.
We don't ask perfection of each other, but are called to show grace and kindness to one another.
At our best, the church can be - and often is - a place where a victim finds the love of God in action.
This article was written by Michael Jensen and was copied from here.
New laws have been introduced in each state and territory to improve the protection of domestic and family violence victims.
From 25 November 2017 domestic violence orders (DVOs) issued in one state or territory will apply and be enforceable in all states and territories in Australia.
Prior to 25 November 2017 DVOs applied only in the state or territory where they were issued.
The forms will be available here from the 25 November 2017.
Orders made before 25 November 2017If you are planning to travel or move to a state or territory different to the one where your order was issued, you can have your order “declared” a national DVO. This means it can be enforced in all states and territories in Australia.
In Queensland, you can do this by making an application to a Magistrates Court using the DV35 Application for declaration of a DVO to be a recognised interstate order.
You can also apply to a court in another state or territory.
Note: The person who you have protection from (the respondent) will not be provided with a copy of your application (to declare an order a national order) unless you have given written consent.
If you are planning to travel or move interstate and want to vary the conditions, named persons or term of your DVO, you can do this in Queensland by making an application to a Magistrates Court using one of the following forms:
Orders made after 25 November 2017If you are planning to travel or move to a state or territory different to the one where you originally received your order, it will apply in all Australian states and territories so you will be automatically protected.
If you would like to vary the conditions, named persons or term of your DVO, you can do this in Queensland by making an application to a Magistrates Court using one of the following forms:
Note: The person who you have protection from (the respondent) will be provided with a copy of your application to have your order varied. If you do not want the respondent to know your address, do not include this information on your form. Advise court registry staff of the need to keep this information private.
Enforcing ordersDVOs made from 25 November 2017 can be enforced across all states and territories in Australia. If an order was made before 25 November 2017 it must first be declared a national DVO before it can be enforced in all states and territories.
An order which has not been declared a national DVO will only be enforceable in the state or territory where it was issued.
Order namesDomestic violence orders or DVOs have different names across Australia. A domestic violence order may be called:
Read the National Domestic Violence Order Scheme information guide
This article has been copied from here.
A man who bashed his wife with a shovel while she was breastfeeding their child will be sentenced in Darwin Local Court next month.
Garrett Juan Daniels, 31, pleaded guilty last month and was due to learn his fate today, but the judge has given his lawyers more time to fight for a more lenient sentence.
Last month the court heard Daniels had been drinking at a unit in John Stokes Square in Nightcliff on June 8th, when he "became angry at (his wife) over jealousy issues”.
He began threatening her, then armed himself with a one metre-long shovel and used it to strike her “a number of times to the back of the head” while she was breastfeeding their child and unable to defend herself.
She suffered lacerations to the back of her head which bleed profusely but managed to grab the shovel off her husband with one hand.
Shortly after, her father arrived in a taxi and found his daughter at the door “bloodied and shaken”.
He put his daughter and grandchild in the vehicle but Daniels followed, yelling at his wife through the car window then laying down on the road to stop the taxi leaving the complex.
The 31-year-old also broke the handle of the driver’s side door while attempting to open it.
The taxi driver took the family to Nightcliff Police Station and the woman was taken to hospital.
Several hours later, Daniels was located in Parap and jumped out of a unit window in an attempt to avoid arrest.
His lawyer described the offence as very serious but said his client had expressed remorse and asked for him to be allowed to return to his home in southern Arnhem Land for supervision.
Justice Greg Smith said a clear message had to be sent about domestic violence, but that he would consider a lesser sentence if the defence could provide information from Aboriginal elders about how they would rehabilitate him.
“The prevalence of this sort of violence is so high,” he said.
“I want some clarity about this…I want to hear from people in the community about what they’re going to do to rehabilitate.”
Daniels will be sentenced next month.
This article was written be Rosanna Kingsun and has been copied from here.
Domestic violence victim says lack of protections allowed ex to be 'Teflon man' with no consequences
'Anne' separated from her husband after a decade of physical and emotional abuse, only to find a lack of protections for victims of domestic violence allowed her ex-partner to continue to threaten, harass and abuse her from afar.
The Canberra public servant said the abuse by her former husband began in 2003, shortly after the birth of one of their children.
It continued for 10 years, resulting in physical and emotional scars, debts of up to $30,000 and Anne almost losing her job when photoshopped images of her appeared on two different sex websites.
"It wasn't an overnight change, it was so gradual, but after a while it just got extremely violent," she said.
"I actually labelled him 'The Teflon Man' because nothing would stick to him.
"He has never shown one ounce of ownership of his behaviour through the courts or otherwise."
Anne said the abuse got so violent she almost died from having an asthma attack while being choked.
"He tried to run me over with a car. He spiked my drink and had me [sexually] assaulted by a third party," she said.
"[I was] stalked, both by himself online and a friend in contravention of a DVO."
The couple divorced in 2012, but Anne said her former husband continued to remotely "wreak havoc" in her life in the form of online abuse.
"He actually said [online] I had participated in acts of bestiality," she said.
"But what was really troubling was he had found out our address.
"He was quite capable of giving that address out to just about anyone and have them turn up to the house with the children in the house, because I had full custody."
Anne said she twice came close to losing her job after graphic content on two websites, including a photoshopped portrait of her, came to the attention of her employer.
"I went to the police station [and] they said you are not the victim, the websites are," she said.
'I can't let him live in my head'Anne sought assistance from Victims of Crime Commissioner John Hinchey, who asked ACT police to review the matter.
"They came back with the view that her ex-partner had committed offences and could be charged, [bu] it took a while," Mr Hinchey said.
By the time police issued a warrant and attempted to locate Anne's ex-husband, he had disappeared interstate.
Mr Hinchey said it was difficult to bring him back to the ACT because domestic violence protection orders were not recognised in different jurisdictions.
Anne said if police had dealt with the situation at the first opportunity her ex-partner could possibly be in jail, rather than continuing to cause havoc in her life.
"We haven't had contact and I am still getting phone calls and emails from debt collectors about him, because he is still giving them my details," she said.
Anne believes her former husband is somewhere in New South Wales where he began claiming welfare payments from Centrelink in 2015.
But she said while he had a superannuation scheme, he still owed her $11,000 in child support payments, that she was likely to never receive.
Anne said she still did not feel any safer, though, in raising her children and grandchildren, she was determined to break the cycle of domestic violence in her family.
"I still have post-traumatic stress, I still have anxiety, but I don't let it define me," she said.
"I can't let him live in my head, I can't let him control where I go, what I see, what I do anymore."
DVOs to be enforceable interstate from next week
While it came too late for Anne, frontline services and victim advocates said there had been a great deal of progress in recent years to improve outcomes for other Canberrans experiencing domestic violence.
Revenge porn is now a crime in the ACT, as is drink and food spiking.
ACT Policing also has a specialised Family Violence Coordination Unit and the National Domestic Violence Order Scheme will come into force later this month — giving victims automatic protection across all jurisdictions.
"There is a growing intolerance to accepting that someone can move from one jurisdiction to another and escape the consequences of their behaviour," Mr Hinchey said.
"It will be simpler for [victims] because they will only need to do something once and then there is an obligation on other jurisdictions to ensure that any breach of that order is applied to that person.
"Hopefully it will remove the attraction to move interstate."
Mirjana Wilson from the Domestic Violence Crisis Service (DVCS) said the new scheme should increase access to justice for victims, but the implementation of any new law still had to be tested.
"That requires significant resources, in terms of training police [and] the courts," she said.
And she said a much greater focus was needed to prevent domestic violence in the first place, including compulsory primary school education about respectful relationships.
"If we are going to introduce laws that are going to [have an] impact, then there is a responsibility to ensure that our children and young people are resourced on how to deal with that," Ms Wilson said.
"We may not be able to rely on families to provide that alone."
Domestic violence a 'concern for everyone'The milestones in achievement for victims of domestic violence are being highlighted as part of 16 Days of Activism — a worldwide campaign to eliminate violence against women and girls — beginning on November 25.
The campaign hopes to make the eradication of domestic violence everyone's concern under their theme "Leave No One Behind".
"We need to get to a place in our community where the idea of this happening in families is completely and totally unacceptable," Ms Wilson said.
"In the same way that it has become unacceptable to hop into a car and not put your seat belt on, in the same way that it has become completely unacceptable to litter. In the same way that we have got screening for breast cancer, skin cancer.
"We need to be looking at how we can make family violence one of those things, which we are working towards truly eradicating and eliminating."
This article was written by Adrienne Francis and has been copied from here.
Two months ago, Katie Hughes received an unusual Facebook message from her Laramie hairstylist.
The stylist, Paige Elliot, had heard about a program in Illinois that trained beauty professionals to recognize the signs of domestic violence and refer their clients to support services. She wanted to know if Hughes, who works at the Wyoming Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, could help launch a similar program in the Cowboy State.
Hughes brought the idea to her coworkers at the coalition and at the end of October the group hosted its first online training for Wyoming beauty professionals, the Casper Star-Tribune reports . The program, called Cut It Out, teaches stylists about the realities of domestic violence and ensures they know where to refer clients if they believe they are victims of abuse.
“We’re not asking them to become an advocate,” Hughes said, “but to be supportive, to show compassion and to know where their clients can go for support.”
Thousands of people are abused by loved ones every year in Wyoming. In one day in 2014, the state’s domestic violence resource centers served more than 270 victims, according to data from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
Beauticians, hair stylists and other salon workers are in a unique position to help survivors of domestic violence, Hughes said. Beauty professionals often develop a trusting relationship with their clients over an extended period of time and the sessions leave plenty of time for talking.
“They have more of a personal connection, so survivors are more likely to reach out and connect on a personal level about what they have going on in their life,” she said.
When she first heard of the program, Elliot thought the work was a little out of her job title. But the more she learned about the training she found that she wanted to be involved. She knows many of her clients very well — some have been with her since she started work as a stylist eight years ago. She hears about their work, their families and their relationships.
“I’m close with my clients and I care about them, whether I’ve done their hair once or a hundred times,” Elliot said in an email. “I feel like I’m a safe space for someone to open up, or maybe I’m the only person to ask if they’re OK.”
The training covers the power dynamics of domestic violence and what constitutes abuse. It trains stylists to recognize the signs that someone is being abused, like bruising across the body, low self-esteem or fear of their partner. Finally, beauty professionals learn to refer clients who are victims of abuse to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, which connects survivors to local resources.
The training also combats common misunderstandings about the dynamics of domestic violence. For example, Hughes said that many people believe abusers hurt their victims due to mental illness or addiction, or because of a genetic trait. While those may be factors in the violence, abusing someone is always a choice, Hughes said.
The training program also explains the barriers that keep victims, who are often women, from leaving those who abuse them. Victims sometimes stay with an abuser because they fear the violence against them or their loved ones will escalate if they attempt to leave. Other victims have limited financial resources and fear leaving a provider will make them homeless or unable to feed their children.
“Victims are not weak,” Hughes said. “Victims are often staying in relationships because it’s risky to leave.”
Hughes said the training is a positive trend across the country. The Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence created the program in 2002 and in 2003 the National Cosmetology Association began offering the training across the U.S. Now, many states offer the program and Illinois passed a law last year that mandated all beauty professionals receive similar instruction.
A handful of participants signed up for the first online training on Oct. 30 and in the future Hughes hopes to host in-person training sessions across Wyoming.
“It’s a really exciting partnership that we’re going to build over time,” Hughes said.
This article was written by Elise Schmeltzer and has been copied from here.
The ACTU has launched a campaign calling on the federal government and the Fair Work Commission to implement ten days of paid family and domestic violence leave for Australian workers attempting to escape abuse.
An advertisement features the testimonies of frontline workers, who detail their experiences with victims of domestic violence. It aims to shed further light on the complexities and financial strains involved with escaping abuse.
ACTU President Ged Kearney said victims of domestic violence really struggle to escape the violence whilst also staying to work commitments every day.
“Without paid leave, you can’t leave. Leaving a violent relationship takes on average $18,000 and 141 hours,” Mr Kearney said.
“Paid leave is essential for women who are escaping violence. Relocation and accessing support takes time and money, being forced out of work is a disaster for anyone, let alone in these circumstances.”
“We have to change the rules to include paid leave for domestic violence leave within the National Employment Standards.”
The ACTU has long argued for such changes. In July, Fair Work rejected paid family violence leave, but agreed unpaid leave should be available to affected employees.
Breaking down the financial burdenBy the ACTU’s estimates, the costs involved with leaving such relationships include truck hire ($260), solicitors ($2500 for the initial appearance, $5000 for court appearances), and rent ($3000 bond and four weeks rent).
While the most time-consuming elements include finding a new property (40 hours), seeking support groups and Centrelink benefits (32 hours) and moving (14 hours).
“Physical and financial security go hand in hand for people experiencing family and domestic violence. We need to change the rules to stop women being forced out of work by the actions of abusive partners.”
Advocacy groups support paid leave pushAlison McDonald, the Policy and Program Manager at Domestic Violence Victoria, told SBS News many women firstly consider their financial capacity when contemplating leaving an abusive relationship.
“We know that when women and children leave a violent relationship that is actually the most dangerous time, this is when risk escalates and in fact it’s when you see most family-related homicides occur,” she said.
Ms McDonald supports the calls for ten day paid leave, adding that financial abuse is a common tactic used to force victims to stay.
“Leaving a violent relationship comes with a whole heap of complexities. We really need to support women and children to do this in a safe way,” she said.
“Where you’ve got the support of your workplace to do so, it can really make the difference between whether you do leave or you don’t.”
This article was copied from here.
Watch the video here.
Does it count?
When she’s eight years old, in the bath, and an older male relative walks in and watches her bathe. And she says “please leave” and she says “stop looking at me like that.” And his mom—her aunt—walks in and the girl tells her, “I don’t like him being in here,” and the aunt nervously laughs and shoos him out of the room saying, “Oh, he was just being a boy.”
Does it count?
When she’s 12 years old, navigating that space between childhood and adulthood, and the boys in her class have nicknames for her and all of her girlfriends based on the size of their developing breasts (“Dolly” for the really curvy ones). They spend their days snapping bra straps and leaving marks.
Does it count?
When she’s 16 years old, at one of her first parties, smoking a bit and drinking too much, and a boy she knows from school sits down next to her and tries to kiss her. She gets up to leave, but he reaches out and grabs her left arm and twists it so hard that her ears start to ring and tears spring to her eyes. And when he finally lets go, he is smiling.
Does it count?
When she’s 18 and watching a movie at a friend’s house, and a guy she barely knows follows her into the bathroom, locks the door, and starts kissing her neck. She tries to push him away, but she isn’t strong enough, and she says “no, no, no” while his hand makes its way up her shirt, and she doesn’t know what to do so she kisses him back a bit, while planning her escape, and then, by sheer luck, there is a knock at the door, and she is saved.
Does it count?
When she’s 19 and in mad love with a girl, and a guy she knows tells her that all he needs is one night “to make her straight again.”
Does it count?
When she’s 21, auditioning for a play, and the director asks her to sing and then to hike up her skirt a little, and then loudly proclaims, to everyone in the room, “Well, she can’t sing, but she’s got great legs.”
Does it count?
When she’s 22 walking home from class at dusk, and three guys start following her, whistling and cat-calling and saying things like, “Slow down hot stuff, where’s the fire?” She feels the fire in her legs, in her belly, in her head, and she starts walking faster, but they do too until one of them yells out “bitch!” so she drops her bag and starts to run.
Does it count?
When she’s 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, and 24, dancing with friends at a bar, and a guy comes up and starts grinding her from behind and, at first, she goes along with it because, you know, “he’s just being a boy,” and it’s just for fun, right? But the song ends and she tries to get away but he won’t let her, he follows her, grabs her, and tries to grind again, so she says “stop it,” and he doesn’t, so she yells “stop it!” and he still doesn’t. Her friends notice that she’s in trouble so they rush to her side and all yell, “stop it!” and finally, finally, finally he backs off, and she is breathing hard and feels embarrassed and just wants to go home.
Does it count?
When she’s 25, posing for a group photograph with co-workers, and the one on her left—a man she barely knows —slowly lets his arm drop from her waist to her butt, and she says nothing because she’s not sure what to say. And when the photo has been taken, he gives her butt a squeeze and saunters away as though he owns her.
Does it count?
When she’s 26, opening a new store in a shopping mall and decides to treat herself to a facial, and the man giving her the facial—right there, in the middle of a crowded mall—starts rubbing himself on her leg, and she is so shocked that she freezes. She feels him getting harder and harder, and she just sits there, frozen in that chair, silently screaming while this man applies cream to her face and masturbates against her body.
Does it count?
When she’s 28 and engaged to a wonderful man, and another man—a casual acquaintance—sends her a text that reads: “I’ve been having dirty dreams about you.”
Does it count?
When she’s 30, taking a walk with her dog and her baby, and a construction worker yells at her from across the street, “Now, there’s a mom I’d like to fuck.”
Does it count? Does it count? Does it count? Does it count?
When does it start to count?
When she’s 31 and raped?
It counts, when she’s eight.
It counts before she’s eight. It counts when she’s in her mother’s womb. It counts even before then, when she’s still a star in the sky and in her not-yet-mother’s eye.
It always counts, because she always counts.
She, you, me. We always count.
Let us remember this.
Let us not be fooled into thinking we don’t, anymore.
Let us not be shamed into silence, ever again.
We always count.
This article was written by Via Vicki Rivard and has been copied from here.
John Meehan told Debra Newell he would be the best thing that would ever happen to her.
He ended up being the worst.
The new podcast Dirty John produced by the Los Angeles Times tells a story of an abusive relationship and how a serial offender managed to manipulate and coerce multiple smart, accomplished and wealthy women.
But this is not like the story we are used to.
Meehan is 55 years old, six-foot tall, handsome and charismatic, presenting as an anaesthetist, rarely dressed in anything but his scrubs.
Newell is 59, a mother of four, and owner of an extremely successful interior-design business.
The narrative of abuse does not start with Meehan’s fiery temper, or checking his partner’s phone in the middle of the night. It does not begin with degradation or cruelty or control.
It begins with what looks a lot like kindness.
Meehan was – in Newell’s words – “perfect”.
On their first date, he opened the door for her and placed her napkin gently on her lap. He had a warm smile – the kind that made people trust him. Meehan was fascinated by Newell, asking question after question about her life.
“The intensity of the attention was flattering,” Newell says. He would constantly tell her how beautiful she was and how lucky he was to have her.
As the weeks rolled on, he spoiled his new girlfriend. Every morning, he bought her coffee. He did the grocery shopping. He did the dry cleaning. He took the cars for maintenance. He insisted on carrying her purse. He doted on her in a way she had never before experienced.
Meehan was everything Newell had ever wanted.
It was date two or three when Meehan told Newell he loved her, and he could not wait to marry her.
Because that’s what happens when you fall in love – we’re told. You just know. It’s why we use the analogy of ‘falling’ – you can’t control it, you can’t stop halfway. Everyone thinks you’ve gone mad. Your heart beats hard out of your chest. It’s moving fast, but that’s because of the force of the passion.
“Follow your heart,” goes the cliche.
All you have to do is listen to the radio, read a novel or watch a Disney movie and you will be told in no uncertain terms that love is immediate, swift and overpowering.
But that is not at all what love looks like. In fact, for Newell, it could have been the biggest warning sign of all.
Dr Dina McMillan, a social psychologist who specialises in abusive relationships, says, "Right away he calls you his future wife or girlfriend.
"He's talking about what kind of house you're going to buy, what kind of holiday you're going on. And you've just met. You don't even know each other yet.
"This is another trick they use to try and get you focused on the future. Focus on the future to give into the now."
Within weeks, Meehan moved into Newell's home.
After less than two months, they spontaneously married. No family or friends were invited to the wedding.
"Abuse thrives in isolation," Dr McMillan says, another tactic Meehan used from the very beginning. He damaged the relationships between Newell and her four children, as well as various other family members, meaning before long, he was all she had.
And from there, we know the signs. They're familiar. There's control and threats and emotional abuse. But by that point, the victim is in far too deep.
Dr McMillan makes the point, "For too long we've told women to be careful, but we only gave them the warning signs about the negative behaviour. We haven't shown how the over the top positive behaviour is also an indicator."
And it is for that reason that Dirty John is a true crime podcast unlike any other.
Because the six-part series reveals one of the most terrifying warning signs of an abusive relationship: that the experience of 'love' can be a tactic. That over the top kindness can be a form of manipulation.
That being swept off your feet so quickly - and falling in love almost overnight - is not the stuff of romance.
It's the first red flag.
This article was written by Jessie Stephens and has been copied from here.