Why are so many women charged with murder, as opposed to manslaughter, if there is strong evidence of domestic violence?
How different is the attitude to men defending property than to women defending their own lives or the lives of their children against violent men? When Richard Osborn-Brooks was arrested after stabbing a burglar who tried to break into his home, the hashtag #FreeRichardOsbornBrooks was launched alongside a petition calling for the Crown Prosecution Service to take no action against him. He was released without charge. “We have the right to protect ourselves in our own home,” tweeted one man, in support of Osborn-Brooks.
The victims of domestic violence, who live in well-founded fear of their lives, have the right to a fair trial. Tragedies could have been avoided had the perpetrators of these crimes been dealt with in the first instance. For the sake of all the Emma Humphreys out there, let us demand that domestic violence becomes a thing of the past.
Men are happier when both partners contribute financially – but get stressed when their female partner earns 40% of household income.
Gender identity norms clearly still induce a widely held aversion to a situation where the wife earns more than her husband.
[ed: or How to maximise your compensation payout in a patriarchy]
[I]f you want to maximise compensation for personal injury you should ensure you are injured at work, or in a car accident, or at least in circumstances where you can bring a public liability claim against an insured organisation. Even for sporting injuries in NSW, the maximum amount payable as a consequence of a single incident is $171,000 which exceeds what is available to you as a victim of crime.
If you must be a victim of a criminal assault, you should avoid being assaulted in NSW, where the financial assistance available is the lowest in Australia.
The next tip is to ensure that your assailant is a stranger rather than someone who is well known to you, such as an intimate partner or other family member.
[S]tudies indicate that intimate partner violence is the leading contributor to death, disability and illness in Australian women aged 15 to 44.58 It would therefore appear that compensation schemes which are skewed to assist victims of crimes committed by a stranger are skewed to assist male claimants rather than women.
Ensure its a one-off assault with visible physical injuries, not ongoing abuse over years causing psychological injury.
The final tip is to ensure that you are a capable adult rather than a child or person with a disability or other vulnerability and that you, or those who care for you, have the capacity and presence of mind to report the crime to police and health services and lodge a claim within the prescribed time limit. Of course, if they are the perpetrators of the violence against you, this is particularly problematic.
Rather than empowering women to leave violent and abusive relationships by providing an effective compensation scheme or at least adequate welfare payments and supported accommodation, avenues of financial and practical support for women are being increasingly restricted. Meanwhile, the government is instead backing microfinance arrangements to assist women to leave abusive relationships, knowing full well that these will leave women further indebted into the future despite being touted as life-saving. This systemic refusal to fairly compensate women for the impact of male violence on their lives or to provide them with any viable means of escape is truly the patriarchy at work.
On 19th July 2016, our father shot and killed our mother, Claire, and 19-year-old sister, Charlotte, in a car park swimming pool in broad daylight. He then committed suicide.
We had broken Mum and Charlotte out of the family home only five days previously, and moved them to safety five miles from the family home.
Despite our father’s controlling nature, we had never considered our lives to be in danger. We had never considered that we were victims of domestic abuse as our father was never physically violent.
In every media report, there was speculation that the prospect of divorce ‘drove’ our father to murder Mum and Charlotte – that our actions were responsible for his choices.
Street theatre and domestic violence might sound like an unusual combination.
However the Restore our Refuge group and community members took to Taree’s streets today to honour the dozens of women who have lost their lives in domestic violence incidents in 2019.
Currently, the Manning Valley does not have refuge for women and children fleeing violence at home.
Flowers were laid while a local choir sung, in an attempt to highlight the issue.
On Friday 1 November at 11am, women and men gathered in the blistering sun and howling wind at the Taree Cenotaph in the centre of town to honour the forty-five women who have lost their lives to domestic violence since the beginning of 2019. The event was organised by the grassroots activist organisation Restore Our Refuge (ROR). Members of the group include former workers and volunteers of Manning District Emergency Accommodation (MDEA) who managed Lyn’s Place Women’s Refuge in Taree. The groups aim is to ‘restore Taree’s secular, feminist, specialist domestic violence refuge’ which after over thirty years of community management was handed over to the Samaritans charity as part of the NSW governments Going Home, Staying Home (GHSH) reform.
Ms Stephen’s lawyer asked the Police Commissioner to remove the detective in charge, Ryan Jeffcoat, from the case because of alleged bias and a lack of understanding of domestic violence.
Police dismissed the complaint.
“We thought that his view of the case was flawed from the beginning and that he didn’t have an independent mind to bring to the investigation or the prosecution,” Ms Wright said.
“All I can think is they have no idea about domestic violence, even though they’ve implemented all this training, because I can’t understand how they saw me as being a perpetrator when Chris was twice my size and strength,” Ms Stephen said.
I share parental responsibility with the man who tried to strangle me and who continues to expose our children to violence.
I wake up each day wondering if this will be the day he decides to end my life as he promised. I have no lawful way to avoid regular contact with this man, and I dutifully follow our parenting orders to the letter.
In it I have recorded each and every interaction I have had with government and government-funded systems and services in my quest for safety and a life free of fear and control. I have made it clear to my friends and family that this notebook is to be provided to the Women’s Legal Service in the event of my death at the hands of my former husband.
I do this not to be morbid, but because I want my voice to be heard at my inquest. If I have to make the ultimate sacrifice in the name of shared parental responsibility, I want Australia to know what happened and why.
Stella Tarrant said there was growing awareness that domestic violence is usually not just one-off incidents of physical abuse, but an insidious pattern of coercion and control by one person over another.
But legal decision makers, including defence lawyers, she said, were too often failing to identify and take into account those more complex dynamics.
And, as an ABC News investigation recently revealed, the problem sometimes begins when police who attend domestic violence callouts misidentify which party is most in need of protection, and arrest a woman who may have fought back against an abusive spouse.
“If we’re not recognising when a woman defends herself against that form of violence, it’s basically like the criminal justice system saying it never happened,” Tarrant said.
“It’s an institutional response … an act of refusing to see that that violence is occurring.”