A resource for judges in Australia that is designed to improve the understanding of family violence has been updated and dispels a number of myths about domestic violence that can impede justice and put women at risk.
It makes clears that victims of DV cannot always ‘just leave’ an abusive relationship, that physically separating will not always stop the violence and that attempts to control a partner can be as serious as physical violence.
“Although there is a widespread belief in the community that mothers frequently fabricate allegations to influence family law proceedings, the research to date indicates that it is more likely that they will be reluctant to raise allegations for fear of having their motives questioned, and that the making of false allegations is much less common than the problem of genuine victims who fail to report abuse, and the widespread false denials and minimisation of abuse by perpetrators,” the book reads.
Despite wanting to leave barriers that prevent victims from doing so include a lack of financial resources, concerns for the welfare of children, family and pets, disability, a lack of alternative, safe accommodation, inadequate formal support systems, religious and cultural beliefs and a fear of retaliation by the perpetrator.
“Research has shown that one of the most dangerous times for a victim is in the months after separation when the perpetrator may use a variety of tactics to reassert control over the victim.”
Research indicates that, predominantly, women are the victims and men are the perpetrators of this form of violence.
In 73% of female homicide cases, the current or intimate male partner is the perpetrator/offender.”