Media Release 25 July 2015
Family First NZ says that research in association with the Department of Internal Affairs, Alcohol and Drug Association of New Zealand and the Canterbury Men’s Centre has found that 38% of recent victims of family violence in the Canterbury region have been male and that male victims are not gaining support. The researcher says that media coverage has only focused on female victims and that there is reluctance for men to speak up.
“This research is no surprise to us or to agencies working with domestic violence. A report released last year says that blaming men for domestic violence is ‘gender bias’. It is time that the focus on family violence was on family instability and breakdown, our violent culture, and the role that alcohol and drugs play in fueling this violence, rather than the one-eyed approach of ‘men as perpetrators and women and children as victims’. The White Ribbon Campaign is well-intentioned, but we need to open both eyes – and present the full picture if we really want to find solutions,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
“The Family Violence Death Review in 2012 revealed some inconvenient truths – specifically that children were more often killed by their mothers than any other group of suspects, and that family violence death victims were almost evenly proportioned across male and female adults and children.”
“The Families Commission’s 2009 Family Violence Statistics Report revealed that 48% of child abuse – including emotional, physical, neglect, sexual and multiple abuse – was committed by women. Yet the Families Commission also perpetuates the perception that it’s only men,” says Mr McCoskrie.
Prominent New Zealand researcher Professor David Fergusson says “the discovery of domestic violence in the context of the concerns of the Women’s movement has meant that domestic violence has been presented as a gender issue and used as an exemplar of patriarchy and male dominance over women.” He argues we need to broaden our perspective “away from the view that domestic violence is usually a gender issue involving male perpetrators and female victims and toward the view that domestic violence most commonly involves violent couples who engage in mutual acts of aggression.”
The Canterbury researcher said “the stand out finding for me was discovering that categorically there is no agency that is funded to reach out to males when they are victims of domestic violence, there is nothing.”
“This latest research reveals that ideology has blinded us to the needs of many victims of family violence. The gender focus has meant that we’ve missed focusing on and tackling some of the real causes,” says Mr McCoskrie.