In one of his first big policy announcements as Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull has moved to distinguish his government from that of Tony Abbott's by introduce positive policy to assist women and confront the massive societal issue of violence towards women with his announcement of the 100 million dollar funding program to assist women suffering from violence with the key focus being on domestic violence.
As a solicitor I do not think there is a simple answer to domestic violence, though this package is a great start, much more needs to be done in fields of education, resources and rehabilitation.
Domestic violence is a complex issue because there is no one solution to solve the problem, there are currently calls in Queensland for mandatory sentencing concerning domestic violence.
Whilst I am of a view that sentencing concerning psychical Domestic Violence needs to increase, as a solicitor I oppose this policy as it takes away the court discretion at sentencing.
It is my view that there is big difference between say for example a man who places his hand around his partners wrists whilst they have a disagreement and that of a man that beats his partner to a pulp, the latter should certainly be punished far more then the former and deserves significant jail time, wherein the former could probably benefit from probation and rehabilitation services.
Sadly though as a solicitor I see the abuse conducted by some women of our current domestic violence system.
I see countless applications that are brought on absolute rubbish and applications that have only been made because either the relationship is over or the female thinks the DVO will assist her in the Family Law Court proceedings (where due to the torrent of abuse of DVOs seen before this court, such orders are now given little to no regard).
Members of our community loose faith in our current domestic violence system when they see their friends and families have orders put on them after they have separated with their partners wherein it was happy days for the 10 years of the relationship, but now the relationship is over their friend of family member is accused by the partner of being controlling or abusive and an order is made with out the reliance of any credible evidence concerning the allegations. and the court disregards the timing of the applicants complaint.
The problem these weak and false cases are causing is that it makes the system appear biased towards females (A clear bias of such is actually written into the Qld Legislation) and the perception of bias alienates a significant portion of our society.
A portion of our society is not going to care for Sally who had her teeth kicked in if they have already formed the view that Domestic Violence Orders are biased against men and are given out like candy canes at Christmas.
At the end of the day though, despite a DVO being a court order and having consequences for a breach of said order, the order itself is just a piece of paper.
The sentence for breaching a domestic violence order could be mandatory life imprisonment, that little piece of paper and the consequence for breaching same are going to do nothing for you against a person whom wants to do you genuine harm, the order wont deflect punches, act as plate mail when your getting stabbed or provide you oxygen when your getting strangled.
It is my view that if we are going to get serious about resolving our current issue of domestic violence then our solutions to domestic violence need to change from being reactive to being proactive
A man learns his boundaries as a child, we need to be educating children from the start of primary school as to what is acceptable behavior and what is not concerning violence in general and violence against women specifically, with the saturation of violence that exist in today's media and entertainment we need to start young and lay the pathway as to people we want our children to grow up to be.
In saying that we need to also install in our girls that they should never tolerate abuse from their partner, a great deal of the domestic violence cases that result in tragedy are stories about women who stayed in violent relationships or went back to a violent partner.
Our girls need to grow up knowing that once there is violence in the relationship they need to seek what resources they can and get out of the relationship. Not only do these women who stay in violent relationships or return to violent relationships place themselves at unacceptable levels or harm, but they also detract from the importance of the issue as there is a section of our society that has the view being that there is no point in having a Domestic Violence system or resources if such women are only going to stay in violent relationships or return to their abusive partners after orders are made.
I think the free phone is a bad idea, your going to get a heap of social welfare recipients abusing the system whilst a free phone is not going to do squat for the woman that is scared to leave the house because she will get flogged. This money would be better spent on providing resources for escape such as more refuges or public housing for victims of DV.
Lastly there needs to be a focus on the rehabilitation of violent offenders which I can only see occurring with greater penalties for committing physical domestic violence and a rehabilitation program to curb future violent behavior and perhaps a hormone treatment plan.