Addressing the plague of family violence in Australia

March 17, 2016

family-violenceMen and abusive perpetrators are critical to driving the cultural change needed to drive down rates of domestic and family violence across Australia.

That’s the view of counsellor David Nugent, who overcame his own problems with violence and aggression to start a behaviour change program in Victoria for men who struggled to control their temper.

He said men needed to look at themselves and their relationships to avoid contributing to the “horrible” statistics of abuse in Australia, with one in three women affected by domestic or family violence in their lifetime.

Mr Nugent said abuse commonly stemmed from men wanting to exert power and control over their partners due to insecurity or a lack of self-confidence – and emotional abuse could be just as insidious as physical violence.

“When I’m up against a wall I do one of two things, I get aggressive or I get passive, and both are violence.

“The myth in our community is that violence is physical contact but I know a lot of women who are scared for their partner to walk in the door but they’ve never once been hit.”

He said, like a lot of men, he would have described himself as a violent man but swore he’d never hit his partner.

“We minimise the mood swings, or the grumpiness, or the roughness of being in a bad mood.

“That’s all the emotional abuse and it’s putting women below the male so the male’s more superior, and that’s the problem in our society.”

Mr Nugent said the court system often struggled to help women who were victims of emotional violence because the offending lacked the bruises and broken bones that came with physical abuse.

The answer to stopping the violence, he said, was for men to talk to each other about their behaviour and how it could change.

Mr Nugent said while conversations about responses to family violence often revolved around boosting government funding, he advocated the importance of a “street level” approach to attacking the problem. To read more at the Canberra Times click here.

Family violence will be discussed at the 2016 Stop Domestic Violence Conference. The Conference will be held on 28-30 November at the Mercure Hotel in Brisbane. To express your interest in the 2016 Conference CLICK HERE.

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