OPINION: We need to take a tougher stance on Domestic Violence in Australia, and we need to take it now

Image Source:    bbc.co.uk

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC) has just released some staggering and frightening statistics about the continued incidence of Domestic Violence (DV) against women around the world, leaving those working in and around this issue shocked and questioning if interventions being used to reduce Domestic Violence are truly working.

The findings indicate that ‘the home the most likely place for a woman to be killed’ – not surprising as more than half of the 87,000 women killed around the world in 2017 died at the hands of those closest to them.

Of that figure, approximately 30,000 women were killed by an intimate partner and another 20,000 by a close relative.

How is this possible given the focus, attention and money being thrown at it to reduce the incidence of domestic and family violence?

Where are most women killed through Domestic Violence?

Africa topics the list, with Japan and Luxembourg cited as the two safest countries in the world in terms of violence.

UNDOC’s findings indicate that the rate of women killed by a partner or family member (per 100 000 population) is:

  • Africa 1
  • Americas 6
  • Oceania 3
  • Asia 9
  • Europe 7

Africa is where women run the greatest risk of being killed by their intimate partner or family member, the UN report says, occurring at a rate of 3.1 deaths per 100,000 people.

Asia had the greatest number of women killed by intimate partners or family members in 2017, with a total of 20,000.  Disgraceful and unacceptable statistics in any society.

Source:  http://www.unodc.org/unodc/frontpage/2018/November/home-the-most-dangerous-place-for-women- Adapted

Domestic Violence – sometimes the unseen killer

To understand how many women around the world died in one day from Domestic Violence, the British Broadcasting’s network of international journalists recently did their research – and established that 47 women were killed for ‘gender-related reasons’ around the world on October 1, 2018 – that’s 47 women in just one day.  Add to this the countless others who died, although they were not specifically stated for ‘gender reasons.’

There are huge problems in establishing the true figures of how many women died on that one day – or any day – due to gender violence.  Why?  Because of the way different societies view and treat Domestic Violence, with some even tolerating forms of violence against women – an example being honour killings, where women are killed because of the apparent ‘shame’ they have brought their families.

Many killings are not reported

The costs of domestic violence in Australia

Violence against women is costing Australia 21.6 billion each year and we truly have to ask ourselves if it’s reducing?

  • The cost of pain, suffering and premature mortality constitutes the largest proportion of the total cost of all violence at 48 per cent, equating to $10.4 billion.
  • Governments, both State and Commonwealth bear 36 % or $7.8 billion to deliver health services, criminal justice and social welfare for victims.
  • Economically, $3.4 billion is lost either due to victims or other members of society funding their own services or due to lost opportunity costs.
  • Leaving money aside, lives are lost or shattered on all levels through domestic violence.

Source:  vichealth.vic.gov.au

What will it take?

We can throw money, time and resources at the pandemic called domestic violence, but unless we educate and teach people the skills to have respectful relationships and call others when they treat women badly, we will continue to struggle with this issue and more lives will be lost.

In addition, there should be NO tolerance for communities and societies of people world-wide where violence against women is allowed.

People living with this mindset in Australia need to understand that violence against others is a criminal act, punishable to the fullest extent of the law. But at times I think we are too soft on this issue.  If a person commits domestic violence against another, they should be incarcerated for the longest period to send a strong message to others as well.

Is a jail sentence enough?

Many critique the death sentence, but consider the case of familicide where a man, for example, kills his children.  Is a jail sentence enough?  Are remorse and an apology sufficient?  Perhaps to get serious with this issue we need to deal out a similar punishment to what he did.  I don’t support violence on violence, but unless strong messages are sent and there is a deep felt and collaborative approach to this problem, not much will change.

Prevention Strategies

Prevention strategies have a proven effect on levels of violence. But we have to do more.  Much, much more.  And educate people at all levels about treating each other well.

Perhaps we need to study countries like Japan and Luxembourg more diligently as both are deemed the most peaceful and safest countries around the world.

Whatever the answer is, it needs to happen fast. If 47 women lost their lives in just one day due to ‘gender-reasons’, how many does that equate to each year?  We can’t say 17,155 because that does not include reasons other than Domestic Violence

In my view, one is too many.  So, what more are we going to do about this?

If you would like to chat to me about any of the issues raised in this article, you can book a free discussion on https://my.timetrade.com/book/QGY21.

Photo by Ye Jinghan on Unsplash


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