Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Month: Uncovering the Myths
Published on 11th of May 2023
This month, Australians are being urged to take a stand against domestic and family violence. Concerningly, a recent national survey released by Australia's National Research Organisation for Women's Safety (ANROWS) has revealed widespread misunderstanding of the issue, with two in five respondents believing that men and women perpetrate domestic violence at equal rates. The survey also found that more than 37% of respondents believe women in custody battles make up or exaggerate claims of violence.
“These misconceptions have real life consequences for people experiencing violence, who often feel isolated from their communities or too embarrassed to ask for help,” explains Vanessa Ambrose, DV-alert Senior Program Manager for Lifeline Australia. “It’s important that we all take a stand against these dangerous myths and speak out against domestic and family violence.”
DV-alert is free, nationally accredited training delivered by Lifeline Australia to help frontline workers and the general public recognise the signs of domestic and family violence and know what to do next.
The survey also highlighted where people think domestic and family violence is happening, with 91% of respondents agreeing it is a national problem but only 47% believing it was a problem within their own suburb or town. This indicates a disconnect between the reality of how pervasive this issue is in our society and what individuals think about its presence in their own lives.
Shockingly, nearly one quarter (23%) of respondents believed that “a lot of what is called domestic violence is really just a normal reaction to day-to-day stress and frustration”, highlighting the need for further education on the seriousness of this issue.
“Domestic and family violence prevention month serves as an important reminder to us all that we must remain vigilant in speaking out against any form of domestic or family violence. We must not turn away when we hear stories about possible abuse or neglect – instead let’s work together to ensure everyone feels safe in their homes and can access support when they need it most.” Vanessa says.
The Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth thanked ANROWS for its important work on the long-running National Community Attitudes Survey.
“Research like this helps us identify where there may be gaps in our understanding and where we need to focus our efforts on as a society when it comes to the important issues of family, domestic and sexual violence,” Minister Rishworth said.
Two in five respondents in the survey said they would not know how to access domestic and family violence services, which further highlights the crucial need for services like DV-alert which serve to educate and empower the community.