I was on Nights on Radio NZ earlier this week, talking about domestic violence. It was, as ever, a difficult topic to talk about.
You can find a recording of the talk here: Click on “Pundit: Feminist thought”
I talked about some of the myths about domestic violence, including the “myth” that women are violent too. This is not actually a myth, because it’s true. But, the scale is different. I’ve come across one study which has some reasonably good stats – domestic violence as reported by children.
This is from the Dunedin longitudinal study. The researchers have been following an entire cohort of children, all the children born in Dunedin between 1 April 1972 and 31 March 1973. That’s a very powerful dataset. In this particular article, the researchers look at the children’s reports of domestic violence, c/f reports by perpetrators or by victims. Here’s what they found.
One-quarter (24%) of the sample reported violence or threats of violence directed from one parent to the other. Nine percent reported infrequent assaults while one in 10 reported more than five acts of physical violence. In violent families, 55% reported violence by fathers only, 28% by both partners, and 16% by mothers only.
I also talked about the testimony from Sir Patrick Stewart. It is compelling and distressing.
There’s more from Patrick Stewart here: Sir Patrick Stewart’s powerful message about domestic violence
If you are affected by domestic violence, then Women’s Refuge can help.
Or phone Women’s Refuge on 0800 REFUGE / 0800 733843
There was so much that we didn’t have time to talk about, such as the chronic underfunding of Women’s Refuge, and that women are in most danger as they prepare to leave or just after they leave which is why “she should just leave” is such a dangerous myth, or that it is widespread and occurs in all social groups.
And there was something that affected me more than almost anything. I put up a Facebook post, letting people know that I would be on the air talking about domestic violence. And immediately, some of my friends told me stories.
My daughter got out of her marriage physically unharmed on the whole, though her ex did blame bruising on her thighs on their then 3 year old son – he made an affidavit to the Family Court and they believed him FFS!! But the psychological battering was something else – she was either a useless wife and mother or a useless mother and wife.
Good luck Deborah, but the sector isnt positive. In Palmerston North since the Salvation Army closed its Womens Safe house last year due to lack of funding inhibiting its safe running, since then despite increased demand Palmerston North Women’s Refuge has gone from two safe houses that were well used to just one, have lost two staff members and are no longer able to run their children’s programme. The staff left have had their hours cut and are working the remaining hours on a voluntary basis, as well as now having to use their own cars. This leaves one safe house in the Manawatu/horowhenua district as PN womens refuge ‘area’ is the same as the DHB
Last year there were more than 90,000 domestic violence calls attended by police. It makes up 50% of their work. The form they (often called the Pol400) is 18 pages long, which accounts for the complexity of the relationships and the importance of getting the risk assessment correct. Despite all of this most police officers have no idea what happens to the Pol400 after it is filed.
We all know too much about domestic violence. And that tells you just how big a problem it is.