There are some sacred cows in Australian politics, important issues with dominant narratives which cannot be questioned lest one be tainted with false accusations of callous indifference to the important issue. Domestic violence is just one of those which has carefully confected a facade of facts wilfully ignorant of contradictory evidence.
Joe Hildebrand, one of Australia’s most intellectually honest lefties, wrote an article which enraged those who promote the narrative that domestic violence is a gendered problem reflecting a poor calibre of male character in the nation. Inconveniently for them, his source is the first decent study of all available research on the issue in Australia, conducted by the Australian Institute of Criminology.
Joe commented it was “astonishing” that “the study noted in its opening statement: “To our knowledge, there has been no attempt to develop a comprehensive understanding of what characterises domestic violence offenders and offending across Australia.”” The result of their subsequent fact-based, scientifically-rigorous meta study contradicts the “toxic masculinity” narrative of most domestic violence agencies.
“Perhaps most significantly, despite the prevailing narrative that domestic violence is a simple male versus female issue, [the major study] found that in fact it was a tiny minority of men who were responsible for a vastly disproportionate amount of abuse.” – Joe Hildebrand
These agencies are financially dependent on government hand outs and so they are also incentivised to continually provide evidence that a problem exists where it may no longer or never have existed, lest their funding end with the problem. A real solution is not in their self-interest. That does not mean the problems do not exist or their motives are selfish. It means everything they present must be verified and not taken as indisputable fact.
Which Joe did.
Which they did not like.
The evidence was clear and overwhelming. Domestic violence is massively concentrated in disadvantaged and indigenous communities. Alcohol is a significant factor. A miniscule minority of men are repeat offenders in turn responsible for an immensely disproprtionate amount of violence which if excluded from statistics would reduce the quantity of national incidents by anywhere from 27 to 50 per cent.
So why do only about ten per cent of studies focus on socio-economic factors while more than fifty per cent focus on gender?
If we are truly serious about domestic and family we will take the evidence of the major factors seriously and not dismiss them if unhelpful to the narrative underpinning funding proposals. Real solutions will focus not on gender, but legitimate push factors like unemployment, alcohol and disadvantaged communities.
The below video of questions in Senate Estimates further reveal how prejudiced the assumptions government funding relies on are, with thanks to former Senator David Leyonhjelm.
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