Council adopts first-ever EU law combating violence against women

The law that was adopted today criminalises the following offences across the EU: female genital mutilation, forced marriage, non-consensual sharing of intimate images, cyber stalking, cyber harassment and cyber incitement to hatred or violence.

Committing these crimes will be punishable by prison sentences ranging from at least one to five years. The directive also comes with an extensive list of aggravating circumstances, such as committing the offence against a child, a former or current spouse or partner or a public representative, a journalist or a human rights defender, which carry more severe penalties.

The directive also contains detailed rules on the measures of assistance and protection that member states should provide to victims.

Source: Council adopts first-ever EU law combating violence against women

Femicides: Belgium still failing to collect data despite pioneering law

Across Europe, more than 14,000 women were intentionally killed for being a woman between 2012 and 2022.

 

However, this figure is likely an underestimation of reality, as few countries recognise femicide, resulting in many deaths being written off as “ordinary” murders. Belgium signed the Council of Europe’s Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence (better known as the Istanbul Convention) in 2016, which requires signatories to collect statistical data on gender-based violence.

 

Belgium last year positioned itself at the forefront of the battle against gender-based violence with a new law, the Stop Feminicide Law, in which the legal definition of femicide was enshrined and boosted protections for victims.

 

Recognising that, to fully understand the phenomenon and its scale, more accurate official statistics were needed, the country also vowed to improve the collection of statistics on the phenomenon. Belgium is one of the worst performers when it comes to femicide data collection, but suddenly became one of Europe’s legislative pioneers in the fight against this crime.

 

However, almost one year later, Le Soir reported that, while the Federal Government does collect general data on cases of domestic violence, as well as on suspects of domestic violence and their gender, no figures on femicide victims could be provided, not by the Public Prosecutor’s Office, nor by the Federal Police.

 

Source: Femicides: Belgium still failing to collect data despite pioneering law

The five demands of the No More national rallies happening this weekend

Rallies calling for government action on violence against women are happening in a dozen locations across the country over the weekend.

The No More National Rally Against Violence, starting in Ballarat this Friday at 5pm, was organised in response to the targeted attacks on women in Bondi Junction on April 13, as well as the concerning growth of gender-based violence in Australia.

Just 17 weeks into the year, 25 women have been killed in 2024 at the hands of male-perpetrated violence, according to Destroy the Joint’s Counting Dead Women.

Sarah Williams, founder of advocacy organisation What Were You Wearing, is the woman behind it all. She, along with several other organisations, have developed five key demands for action to come from the No More national rallies.

(1) Declaration of national emergency

(2) Media regulation on publishing images of victims

(3) #BelieveMe: Mandatory victim blaming prevention training

(4) Alternative reporting options; DFV specialist courts

(5) Better funding

he No More national rallies are happening in 12 locations this weekend. Williams calls on everyone, especially politicians and including men, to attend.

  • Ballarat, VIC: Friday 26th April 5pm @ Bridge Mall – Town Hall
  • Newcastle, NSW: Friday 26th April 6pm @ Newcastle Museum – Nobby’s Foreshore
  • Sydney, NSW: Saturday 27th April 1pm @ Belmore Park Haymarket – Hyde Park
  • Adelaide, SA: Saturday 27th April 11am @ Parliament House
  • Melbourne, VIC: Sunday 28th April 10am @ State Library – Federation Square
  • Bendigo, VIC: Sunday 28th April 11am @ Rosalind Park
  • Geelong, VIC: Sunday 28th April 11am @ Market Square Mall
  • Coffs Harbour, NSW: Sunday 28th April 11am @ Coffs Jetty Foreshore
  • Perth, WA: Sunday 28th April 12pm @ Forrest Pl – Parliament House
  • Sunshine Coast, QLD: Sunday 28th April 11am @ Foundation Square – Cotton Tree Park
  • Brisbane, QLD: Sunday 28th April 11am @ King George Square
  • Canberra, ACT: Sunday 28th April 2pm @ Parliament House

Source: The five demands of the No More national rallies happening this weekend

Bondi Junction attack: Women are sick of being afraid | The Saturday Paper

How could anyone stab a nine-month-old baby?

Why would a man target women going about their business in a shopping centre?

The man stabbed to death four other women – a university student, an artist, an architect and mother of two, an ecommerce assistant who was happily planning her wedding. Tragically, a 30-year-old refugee working his first day shift as a security guard at the centre was also killed.

Most of the people injured and hospitalised in the attack were also female, prompting the commissioner of New South Wales Police Force, Karen Webb, to say it was “obvious” the offender targeted women and avoided the men.

What was obvious to the most senior police officer in the state had not been so plain to armchair detectives, who jumped to incorrect conclusions about the offender’s motivation – that he was an Islamic extremist; that he was a young Jewish man, wrongly identified in media.

There was also, later, a focus on the perpetrator’s mental health – he’d been diagnosed with schizophrenia.

The mental health system in this country has been beset with problems for years, but as Professor Patrick McGorry, who has worked with people with schizophrenia for three decades, told the ABC’s Rafael Epstein, people with this diagnosis are less likely to commit acts of violence, not more.

Further, we typically don’t see acts of mass violence being perpetrated by mentally ill women.

Extreme acts of violence of any type perpetrated by women are extraordinarily rare.

On the other hand, our nation’s memory is stained by horrific attacks by male perpetrators – from the Bourke Street Mall car killings, to the Lindt Cafe siege, to Port Arthur, to the Hoddle Street massacre, to the Belanglo State Forest backpacker murders and now Bondi Junction.

Regardless of the sex of the victim, Australian Bureau of Statistics research shows 95 per cent of Australians who experience violence suffer at the hands of a male perpetrator.

When women are angry, or isolated, or depressed, or distorted by extremist ideology, or mentally ill, the statistics show that, overwhelmingly, they don’t resort to violence.

It is only if men take the burden of male violence away from always being a problem for women, if they look into their hearts and acknowledge there is a problem, that we will ever move forward.

Source: 12ft

REVEALED: THE PENTAGON’S INFILTRATION OF AUSTRALIAN UNIVERSITIES – Declassified Australia

Over a 17-year period, the US Defense funding to Australian universities has jumped from $1.7 million in 2007 to $60 million annually by 2022, the year after the AUKUS agreement’s surprise announcement. The funds are backing expanded research in fields of science that enhance US military development and the US national interest.

Between 2007 and 2024, the University of New South Wales received the highest amount of funding, an extraordinary $72 million.

The University of Queensland received the second-highest amount at $60.5 million and the University of Melbourne came in a close third with $60.4 million.

Australia’s premier Group of Eight Universities (Go8) received $202.1 million between them, being 79 percent of the total funding.

In many of these arrangements, the US Defense Department provided funds to major defence companies which were then used to subcontract universities for defence and intelligence-related research.

rce: REVEALED: THE PENTAGON’S INFILTRATION OF AUSTRALIAN UNIVERSITIES – Declassified Australia

Bondi Junction stabbing: Joel Cauchi identified as attacker

Queensland man Joel Cauchi, 40, is the murderer who went on a stabbing spree at Bondi Junction Westfield, killing six people and injuring at least a dozen more before police shot him dead.

Cauchi killed five women and one man as he rampaged through the busy shopping centre brandishing a knife in Sydney’s east on Saturday afternoon.

Police believe Cauchi lived with schizophrenia. There was no clear motive, but they were investigating a potential history of targeting women.

NSW Premier Chris Minns said the “horrifying and violent attack on innocent people” would be subject to a major criminal investigation to “prevent acts like this from happening again”.

He praised the “instinctive bravery” of Inspector Amy Scott, who fatally shot Cauchi, saying the police officer ran towards danger and “without a shadow of a doubt, saved many, many lives”.

Source: Bondi Junction stabbing: Joel Cauchi identified as attacker

Post office operator wrongly jailed while pregnant rejects executive’s apology | UK

A post office operator who was wrongly prosecuted while pregnant has rejected a Post Office executive’s apology for having sent an email celebrating her conviction as “brilliant news”.

The inquiry into the Horizon IT scandal heard that David Smith, who was managing director of the Post Office for seven months during 2010, sent the email to his team after learning that Seema Misra had been convicted.

She was later sentenced to 15 months in prison for theft and locked up on her son’s 10th birthday while eight weeks pregnant. She was put on suicide watch after collapsing in court. Her case was among those overturned by the court of appeal in 2021.

The inquiry is looking into the wrongful prosecution of hundreds of post office operators who were hounded for more than a decade because of shortfalls in their branch accounts that were due to bugs in the Post Office’s Horizon IT system.

Misra rejected Smith’s apology, telling Sky News: “They are apologising now but they missed so many chances before. We had my conviction overturned, nobody came at that time to apologise.”

The UK government has introduced legislation that will exonerate post office operators who were prosecuted between September 1996 and December 2018. The new law is expected to come into force by late July.

[Ed: More evidence for banning the imprisonment of pregnant women and those with dependent children for anything less than the most serious violent crimes.]

Source: Post office operator wrongly jailed while pregnant rejects executive’s apology

Why bullies earn more later in life – Lawyers Weekly

Professor Emilia Del Bono, one of the study’s authors, stated: “We found that those children who teachers felt had problems with attention, peer relationships and emotional instability did end up earning less in the future, as we expected, but we were surprised to find a strong link between aggressive behaviour at school and higher earnings in later life.”

The study really highlighted the fact that, strikingly, conduct problems, such as aggression, are found to be positively related to earnings. This means that children who held aggressive behaviours in their youth, or were considered bullies, were more likely to land a better-paying job later in life, which, in a roundabout way, is almost a reward for this behaviour.

According to the Australian Human Rights Commission, bullying is when “people repeatedly and intentionally use words or actions against someone or a group of people to cause distress and risk to their wellbeing. These actions are usually done by people who have more influence or power over someone else, or who want to make someone else feel less powerful or helpless.”

There was a direct link made in the research that tied aggressive behaviours with trying to “win” in a competitive environment. The authors considered that the positive association between conduct problems and labour market outcomes meant that a reconsideration of discipline policies within schools needed to occur.

“It’s possible that our classrooms are competitive places and that children adapt to win that competition with aggression, and then take that through to the workplace where they continue to compete aggressively for the best-paid jobs. Perhaps we need to reconsider discipline in schools and help to channel this characteristic in children in a more positive way,” said Del Bono.

Enabling is a key theme across the report. We are trained from a young age to “win at all costs”, which creates those adaptive mechanisms that can embolden bullies and aggressors.

[Ed: Did the study control for sex?]

Source: Why bullies earn more later in life – Lawyers Weekly

Violence erupts, activists pepper sprayed at Melb protest

Violent scenes have broken out at a women’s rights rally in Melbourne’s CBD, as pro-transgender counter protestors clashed with frontline police and other activists.

Pro-transgender activists had turned up to counter a #WomenWillSpeak rally, held by the Women’s Action Group.
But scenes turned ugly when pro-trans supporters attempted to push through a police line, which resulted in officers tackling at least two protestors on the ground before deploying pepper spray.
A Herald Sun photographer was injured after he was pushed to the ground and pepper sprayed during the scuffle. Other media were shoved by members of Victoria Police.
Tony Gough, who was photographing the rally, sustained cuts to his face and legs and had his jeans ripped in the incident.
Women’s Action Group co-founder Michelle Uriarau, who was speaking at the #WomenWillSpeak rally, said the action was designed to highlight their concerns about women’s rights and gender-transitioning medicine.
Ms Uriarau claimed members of her movement had received death and rape threats.
“Wherever we speak publicly, there is always an attempt to silence us,” she said.

Source: Violence erupts, activists pepper sprayed at Melb protest