Domestic Violence

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Culture of hostility to women leads to domestic violence, say police chiefs
Gay Alcorn |, Monday 3 November 2014

Exclusive: Changing men’s behaviour is the only way to tackle a crime that kills one woman every week, say commissioners

Australia’s police commissioners have identified “vulgar and violent attitudes towards women” as a key cultural cause of unacceptably high rates of family violence and say it will not stop until men’s attitudes change.

They have urged victims to report assaults to police, who they say have transformed their own attitudes towards family disputes in recent years. Most commissioners say police working closely with other agencies involved with family violence is the only practical way to tackle a crime that kills one woman a week in Australia.

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Sex trafficking, slavery and forced marriage on the rise in Australia, say police
October 31, 2014 | Nick McKenzie, Richard Baker and Nino Bucci

Federal police are investigating a record number of human trafficking cases in Australia involving sex slavery, forced marriages and child brides.

The number of active investigations into human trafficking has doubled in the past two years to 60. Despite the increase, police warn trafficking crimes remain grossly under-reported.

The revelation comes as the Victorian police force increases its focus on human trafficking by urging its officers across that state to be on the alert for indications of sex trafficking, forced marriages and labour trafficking in cafes, on farms and in the construction industry.

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Australians still trivialise and excuse violence against women
17 September 2014 | Kristin Diemer

The latest National Community Attitudes Survey on Violence against Women (NCAS), released today, shows that most measures of community understanding and attitudes on violence against women have not improved in Australia in almost 20 years. In some areas, they’ve worsened.

The survey involved 17,500 phone interviews with a cross section of Australians aged 16 years and older. It’s the third such survey, so we can compare the responses with those in 1995 and 2009.

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Four-in-Ten Pakistanis say honor killing of women can be at least sometimes justified

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif called for “immediate action” Thursday over the stoning death of a pregnant 25-year-old woman in Lahore earlier this week. Farzana Parveen’s murder, carried out by her family members because she married a man without their consent, has shined a light on so-called “honor killing,” a practice in which relatives end the lives of women and men who are said to bring shame to the family.

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Rosie Batty criticises ‘acceptance’ of domestic violence
Australian Associated Press |, Friday 12 September 2014

Mother whose son Luke was killed by boy’s father tells inquiry issue is frequently overlooked and victims often blamed

Family violence should be as widely discussed as the road toll, Rosie Batty has told a Senate inquiry.

Batty, who lost her son Luke in an attack that sparked widespread coverage, said family violence was overlooked far too often.

“Since Luke died I have felt compelled to raise awareness,” Batty told the domestic violence inquiry in Melbourne on Friday.

“Why don’t we know that one in three women experience family violence, and one in four children experience family violence and one woman per week dies?

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Family violence response must tackle all forms of abuse
11 August 2014 | Rosemary Purcell | James Ogloff

The term “domestic violence” typically conjures images of physical assaults perpetrated by men against women and children in the home. But beneath the tip of the iceberg of severe violence lie a myriad of other damaging behaviours, including psychological and financial abuse, and emotional manipulation.

These are the less “visible” forms of abuse, but should not be overlooked or trivialised simply because their effects are less easily seen. To truly address family violence we need to target all forms of violent and abusive behaviour irrespective of who commits it.

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Domestic violence orders need stronger enforcement
8 August 2014 | Jane Wangmann | Lecturer, Faculty of Law at University of Technology, Sydney

Protection orders form a central plank of the various state and territory governments’ response to domestic violence. First introduced in New South Wales in the 1980s and known by a different names across Australia, protection orders are designed to provide a better, more responsive approach to domestic violence than had been provided by the criminal law.

Protection orders have clear benefits. They are relatively easy to obtain, address a range of behaviours beyond physical violence, look beyond incidents to the pattern of behaviour, and can be “tailor-made” to fit the needs of the victim.

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Why doesn’t she just leave? The realities of escaping domestic violence
7 August 2014 | Sarah Wendt | Program Director, Masters of Social Work; Co-Director, Research Centre for Gender Studies; Senior Lecturer, School of Psychology, Social Work and Social Policy at University of South Australia

“Why doesn’t she just leave?” is the common question people ask when trying to understand domestic violence. The answer is far from straightforward.

Central to domestic violence is an ongoing pattern of behaviour, most often used by men, aimed at controlling women through power and fear. This is called coercive control and explains how men extend their dominance in intimate relationships, which then isolates women and erodes their independence over time.

Imagine feeling scared in your own home – and the fear is caused by the person you loved. You’re anxious, confused and deflated from abuse endured over many years. Now imagine you have to flee your partner and home because he has threatened your life or the lives of your children: where do you go?

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Infographic: A snapshot of domestic violence in Australia
4 August 2014 | Emil Jeyaratnam | Fron Jackson-Webb | Michael Courts

Domestic Violence in Australia.  A snap shot.  Between 2008 and 2010: 89 women were killed by their current or former partner.  This equates to almost 1 women killed every week.

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The banality of evil: violence against women
4 July 2014 | Hannah Piterman | Adjunct Associate professor at Monash University

“How do you describe it? What alphabet do you employ? What words? What language? What silence, what scream?” The late Jacob Rosenberg, author and poet, poses these questions in explaining the evil of the Holocaust.

Hannah Arendt coined the term “the banality of evil”, to suggest that the Holocaust was not only the work of crazed fanatics, but also the collective work of ordinary individuals who became acculturated by a state sanctioned process that stripped Jews and others of their humanity.

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Dowry’s dark shadow
May 23, 2014 | Rachel Kleinman

Indian women living in Australia suffer domestic violence stemming from a tradition that some say should be outlawed.

Jessica* came to Australia in 2012 after an arranged marriage in India. Her Indian husband already had permanent residency here and she left her family and country behind to start a new life with him in Melbourne’s western suburbs. Back home, Jessica had completed postgraduate studies, she had a career and came from a family with liberal values.

Now, just two years later, she is separated, recovering from the trauma of domestic violence and locked in a long legal battle to claim her dowry, which remains in India in the hands of her husband’s parents.

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Move to ban dowry practice among Indians in Victoria
May 23, 2014 | Rachel Kleinman

Women’s rights advocates and former premier Ted Baillieu are pushing to have the Indian practice of dowry banned in Victoria amid claims it leads to domestic violence and the abuse of women.

Mr Baillieu tabled a petition in State Parliament in April calling for amendments to family violence laws. Economic abuse was made illegal under the Family Violence Act in 2008, but campaigners also want a specific ban on the dowry, which would bring state law into line with Indian law.

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AHA Foundation combats “honor” violence in the United States
AHA Newsletter December 2013

The AHA foundation is teaching educators and law enforcement how to recognize warning signs of ‘honor violence’ in U.S. immigrant communities.

Read about the AHA Foundation’s efforts here.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali takes aim at forced marriages in the United States
AHA Newsletter December 2013

In an article titled “Young, American and Forced to Wed”, Ayaan writes: Robbing a girl of her freedom and identity is becoming more and more common in the United States. Such crimes are committed not for money or personal obsession, but in the name of traditional religion and culture.”

Read more about the AHA Foundation’s efforts to combat forced marriages in the United States here.

Details of 1989 Missouri “honor” killing case re-visited
AHA Newsletter December 2013

A 1989 honor killing in Missouri is receiving renewed attention following a greater interest in “honor” violence in the United States. The girl, 16-year-old Tina Isa, was brutally stabbed for dating a boy and for taking a part-time job.

The honor killing was captured on audio tape because the house had been put under surveillance by the FBI for the father’s suspected links to Jihadist groups.

Read more here.

Mother in UK recognized for testifying in “honor” killing case
AHA Newsletter December 2013

A Kingston (UK) mother, Sarbjit Kaur Athwal, has been named Ultimate Women’s Warrior of the Year at the Cosmopolitan Women Awards this month for becoming the first person to give evidence in an open court for an “honour killing” trial.

Ms Athwal played an active role in bringing justice to the family members who arranged the murder of her sister-in-law Surjit Athwal who was drugged, drowned and murdered in India after she became “too western”.

Read more here.

Protests against “gender apartheid” in British universities
AHA Newsletter December 2013

‘Gender apartheid’ is real in UK universities, writes Emma Pearce in the Telegraph. One of the organisers of a protest against gender segregation, Maryam Namazie, said that she has noticed a rise of Islamism across UK Universities that encourages gender segregation. Thus far, the issue has received little scrutiny.

Read more here.

Fighting forced marriage in Sydney, Australia
AHA Newsletter December 2013

Many women in Sydney, Australia from immigrant backgrounds face a forced marriage. Eman Sharobeem, a former victim turned social worker, helps them to find a way out.

”As a young girl you are supposed to listen to and obey your parents fully and this is the common practice here as well,” Sharobeem said. ”I still see victims of forced marriage and it is actually increasing. The number of cases reported to us this year only is 15.”

Among those who have come to Sharobeem for help was one woman, reduced to a sex slave and kept locked in a garage, after being brought to Australia on a spouse visa.

Read more here.

Rise in “honor” killings in Palestinian territories
AHA Newsletter December 2013

Palestinians have seen a noticeable increase in the number of ‘honor’ killings this year. So far this year, 27 women (at least) have been killed. Soraida Hussein, whose rights group Muntada tallied this year’s killings, said the practice also has deep roots.

“There is no balance in power relations between the genders. There is a patriarchal mentality…as always, the force and pressure in society is transferred from the strong to the weak,” according to Hussein.

Read more here.

Dubai police intervene to prevent forced marriage
AHA Newsletter December 2013

The human rights office of the Dubai Police came to the rescue of three young Asian sisters who said they were scared they were going to be forced to marry if they boarded a flight to their home country, police said.

Read more here.

In India, a 15-year-old girl was able to escape from a looming forced marriage
AHA Newsletter December 2013

In India, a 15-year-old girl was able to escape from a looming forced marriage even though the entire neighborhood was in favor of the forced marriage.

Read more here.

In India, growing crisis of women trafficked into marriages
AHA Newsletter December 2013

In India, about 100,000 Indian women were trafficked for marriage last year. That’s an increase of about 20 percent since 2006, according to New Delhi-based Empower People, a group that fights bride kidnappings.

The forced marriages often result in abusive relationships and forced servitude for the wife. A 2013 UN Report found that “most ‘purchased brides’ are exploited, denied basic rights, duplicated as maids, and eventually abandoned” in conditions “that amount to a modern form of slavery”.

Read more about the crisis in India here.

Growing concern for fate of female prisoners in Afghanistan
AHA Newsletter December 2013

As foreign troops prepare to withdraw from Afghanistan, there are growing concerns over the fate of female prisoners in the country. The Afghan government continues to do very little to help women, including women who are unjustly incarcerated or who receive excessively harsh prison sentences.

Read more here.

Women in Nigeria protest against forced marriage to deities
AHA Newsletter December 2013

Women in southern Nigeria have been protesting against forced marriages to deities and other forms of coercion, the BBC reports.

Read more here.

The violence hasn’t stopped, so the stories must be retold
November 9, 2013, Quentin Bryce, The Age

In the lead-up to the 1993 World Conference on Human Rights, thousands of hearings were held with women around the world. The testimony made visible their shocking and widespread abuse. These women were no longer immobilised victims; they had become empowered and active campaigners for change.

Critically, a consensus of nations formally declared that ”the human rights of women and of the girl-child are an inalienable, integral and indivisible part of universal human rights”.

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