More Clarence men seeking domestic violence orders
THE number of Clarence Valley men protected under apprehended violence orders is rising.
Exclusive NewsRegional research shows men make up 27% of the region's residents protected from family and domestic violence by the courts.
Local courts issued 388 AVOs across the Clarence Valley from April 1, 2015 to March 31 of last year.
Of these, 104 went to men and 284 were granted to women.
In the following 12 months, 111 men and 283 women received AVOs.
The divide between male and female victims is reflected by Australian Bureau of Statistics data that shows one in six women and one in 19 men are the victims of intimate partner abuse.
The same research shows one in four women and one in seven men endure emotional abuse.
The NSW Government spends about $15 million a year on support services for men in crisis and in 2015-16, specialist accommodation was provided for 2548 males aged 15 or older.
MensLine is one of Australia's key national support service for male survivors of domestic violence.
Manager Mark Walters said men often experienced violence from male relatives or, in fewer cases, women.
He said women's violence towards their male partners or former partners was usually to drive them from the house or protect themselves and their kids.
"The men I have talked to that are genuinely frightened by the potential of harm from their partners, they have no trouble asking for help," Mr Walters said.
"I do think more males are seeking referrals and support for the violence they can be experiencing at the hands of family members - for example brothers or fathers - or in same-sex relationships.
"Certainly, referrals come through from police who have assessed the male as a victim in heterosexual relationships - usually at the point of separation.
"Robust policing is catching all the separation-instigated violence along with the resistance violence - for example fightback by abused females - or the retribution-type violence where the female looks to even the score after being abused."
Mr Walters said there were not enough resources available for male survivors.
"Mostly, like women trying to establish a safer place for their children, men are seeking stable accommodation and a place to get some routine back into the kids' lives," he said.
DV NSW chief Moo Baulch said the state's new Safer Pathways program was resulting in more males being protected in the courts.
"As the Safer Pathways program is rolled out across the state, we know male family violence victims are going through that and we are finding a lot of men being abused by kids and teenagers, grandparents being abused, sibling abuse," she said.
"The dynamics of abuse when you're being abused as a grandparent or a parent is very different to the supports needed for those being abused in intimate partner relationships."
Noting the increasing number of AVOs taken out against women, Ms Baulch warned some perpetrators were using the AVO system against their victims.
"We think that is related to perpetrators of violence realising they can use the cross-orders as a tactic to control their former partner," she said.
The NSW State Government has a range of options available for male survivors.
"The 2016-17 NSW State budget committed $13 million over four years for Victim Services to pilot new responses for male victims, such as gay men or fathers and sons suffering family violence, through expert non-government organisation support," said a spokeswoman for NSW's Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence Pru Goward.
"About $2.8 million is allocated in the 2017-18 budget to fund specialist domestic and family initiatives for all male victims suffering family violence."
* For support phone MensLine on 1800 600 636, No to Violence on 1300 766 491, NSW's Domestic Violence Line on 1800 656 463 or the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE FACING ABUSE
- Ensure safety of yourself and children and pets when deciding whether or not to stay in the abusive relationship.
- Work with an agency on a safety plan.
- There are plans that help you when you're committed to staying; thinking about leaving; planning to leave; and have left.
- Remember risk and danger are dynamic - they move up and down.
- You need to form a relationship with a professional to help you regularly review your safety plan and review risks.
- Source: Mensline
- SUPPORT FOR MALE FAMILY VIOLENCE SURVIVORS
- MensLine (1800 600 636) provides support across Australia for men in domestic violence crisis.
- All male victims identified by NSW Police are automatically referred to Victim Services for support.
- No to Violence (1300 766 491) is the centralised intake service for all male victims in NSW through the Safer Pathway framework.
- A state-wide network of non-government organisations provides specialist case management and support for male survivors and represents men assessed to be at serious threat of harm at Safety Action Meetings. The services available at each location vary and can include Relationships Australia, Lifeline, Barnardos and Red Cross.
- Male survivors of domestic and family violence may experience homelessness as a result of escaping unsafe living environments or being forced to leave their home.
- Men experiencing domestic violence can phone Link2home (1800 152 152) for an assessment and referral to the most appropriate service.
- Start Safely helps men escaping domestic and family violence to secure private rental properties. It is available for up to three years, and provides referral assistance and financial help through a rental subsidy.
- Men can also phone NSW's Domestic Violence Line on 1800 656 463 or the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732.
Source: NSW Government