Domestic violence: it’s everybody’s problem

31 Jul

Programmes such as last night’s ABC Four Corners may be difficult for many people to watch, even if they haven’t experienced domestic violence. The account of the murders of Andrea Pickett and Saori Jones by their husbands reveals the attitudes of some police to women in mortal danger from their partners. Briefly, neither woman received the protection she begged for and deserved, as a human being in danger of losing her life. Neither woman should have died. Both deaths were preventable, if the authorities had cared enough to attempt prevention.

While both murders occurred in Western Australia, there is no reason to assume this attitude is peculiar to that state.

As a survivor of a violent home, I find programmes on the topic almost impossible to watch. Sometimes I can’t. But as a survivor I know the importance of bearing witness, particularly in the matter of domestic violence, that private violence, the violence that erupts behind closed doors, that violence everybody tries to hide.

There were some very brave people who tried to help Andrea and Saori. Andrea’s family took her and her children into their home, even though it made them targets for her husband’s uncontrollable rage.

A brave and generous couple helped Saori, because the Japanese woman had no family in Australia to whom she could turn. They also put themselves at risk from the possibility of retaliation by her murderous husband.

Andrea had thirteen children. Saori had two, one of whom was ten months old and still breast-feeding when his father killed his mother. In an unbearably ghastly act, the murderer told police he’d put the hungry infant to his dead mother’s breast to feed.

This man is now taking parenting classes in prison so he can claim his children when he’s released, after serving an inexplicably short sentence because the WA DPP decided he would be charged with a lesser offence than that of murder or manslaughter.

He owes this stroke of good fortune to the fact that his wife’s body was so decomposed after he’d kept it in a spare room in the house in which he continued to live with the children, that cause of death was difficult to determine. Even so, another charge could have been brought against him that would have earned him a sentence closer to twenty years.

These are the extreme outcomes of domestic violence, the ones we hear about.

In the four decades since feminists began political action that resulted in funded women’s refuges, there has been no decrease in domestic violence. We have learned how to better take care of the victims and survivors. But we have not learned how to prevent it in the first place. Anymore than we have learned how to prevent child sexual abuse.

Yesterday as I drove into town, I saw a young man and woman in a fight by the side of the road. Traffic was slow. I saw the man spit into her face, then hit her. I saw her run away. That’s all I saw. They were perhaps sixteen, seventeen.

What we need is far more research into violence in intimate relationships, and we need it urgently. What we need is a police force and a judiciary who take domestic violence as seriously as they do an assault by a stranger on the street. What we need are people who will bear witness, to our own experiences and to that of others, especially those who are not alive to tell their stories.

Whatever plans we currently have in place have spectacularly failed, and will continue to fail. How long will it take governments to accept this, and how many more victims of domestic violence have to die, and how many more survivors, including the witnessing children, will have their lives and their potential damaged, sometimes irrevocably?

This is everybody’s problem.

Vale, Andrea and Saori

40 Responses to “Domestic violence: it’s everybody’s problem”

  1. Denise Murphy July 31, 2012 at 2:43 pm #

    Yes, this is not a WA issue, this is a conservative-state issue.
    What the 4C program didn’t address was the direct link between the slashing of the public service begun three years ago of experienced staff in the Depts of Community Services, Child Protection and Housing.
    The effects of these cuts is that alternative accommodation is unavailable, families are living in tents and cars, competent and experienced staff are few, police culture has reverted to the Neanderthal, and FDV programs have become reactive rather than proactive. Social and welfare workers have been removed from ‘the system’. That system now relies on a little army of young marketing recruits who devise lunatic ‘policies’ to remove problems by “writing them off”. If FDV or any social issue doesn’t exist on paper, it just doesn’t exist.
    Conservative governments always target the community and child protection sectors first for cuts, believing in the old 1950s notions of the ‘needy and the truly needy’. The situation for children experiencing severe abuse and neglect is the same as the appalling situations for family and domestic violence in this boom state. I fear the situation when we go into the inevitable downturn.


  2. Hypocritophobe July 31, 2012 at 10:22 pm #

    Do male police officers make the situation better or worse with their boys club mentalities?
    If you can find a ‘long standing’ female police officer with residual empathy you could ask her.
    Good luck with that.


  3. paul walter August 1, 2012 at 4:33 am #

    I only caught the last quarter of an hour or so, but the baby at breast incident struck me as being the work of someone either dense or psychopathic (both?).
    It seems in a post modern society that social policy and its costs are under attack as neoliberalism seeks to return more capital to business and the middle classes in the form of corporate tax cuts and lower interest rates for the mortgage belt.
    There fore I’d agree with the points Hypo and Denise Murphy make.
    As a man, I cringe at the continued insensitivity of the legal system toward women and minors and see hope only for gradual change, as economic conditions create an era of withdrawl into social conservatism.
    Btw, we saw more of the sort of in (de?)sensitivity talked about in this thread in the succeeding Media Watch, with the callous indifference shown a grieving family, in the reportage of the tragic death of their daughter by media organisations.


  4. helvityni August 1, 2012 at 10:01 am #

    A neighbour of ours was bashed about by her violent partner and ended up in a hospital. She asked us to and pick up some basic stuff from her place as it looked like it was going to a lengthy hospital stay.
    We knocked on the door and politely asked for those items. He slammed the door on us, went inside, opened a window and threatened to cut our heads with a chainsaw if we did not leave.
    We left quick smart, but then rang the police because we were scared of the threats. The police came, and instead of helping us get to those few items to take to the hospital, they told us to leave as we were supposedly trespassing.
    To add to the injury the stupid female cop was chewing gum as she was talking to us…
    I told her to stop doing it, and we left, totally disgusted. Some helpful police force indeed.


  5. Hypocritophobe August 1, 2012 at 10:28 am #

    No matter what the policy or training says,the cops take the easy options to ‘not’ get involved.
    It is the police who do not enforce VRO’s,or even make the perpetrator feel as though the cops mean business.
    If the police did their job there would be less dead/damaged victims.
    In every election,in every state,we are offered and get more cops,who do less and less work.(They now have assistants for every task.Taking prisoners to and fro,paperwork,phone answering, court duties etc))
    Despite the huge size of police forces there is no more visible presence.
    If you want a retirement and the opportunity to play with guns and get free fast food(probably spat on,now and then) join the force.


  6. Hypocritophobe August 1, 2012 at 11:58 am #

    JW I believe we have a nasty little intruder

    automated captcha????


  7. Goku August 1, 2012 at 7:06 pm #

    I also watched the end of the program and was heartbroken. The police response was appalling. As the title here states, it’s everyone’s problem, and it seems, at least in the case of Saori, that people were acting though unfortunately the police did not.


  8. Hypocritophobe August 1, 2012 at 7:57 pm #

    Here is the worst of both worlds.A fine upstanding cop and a Sunday School leader at you guessed it, a Baptist church.


  9. hudsongodfrey August 2, 2012 at 12:07 pm #

    I should probably have chimed in a couple of days ago. I saw this episode of Four Corners and it was indeed terrible what happened to the women beyond being defensible.

    But talk about elephants in rooms? Does nobody wonder whether the WA police’s apparent neglect in Andrea’s case might not have some racial aspects?

    I think if you ran scenarios whereby a former Football Player Agent, an angry young actor, or a former Olympic swimmer were involved then you’d be inclined to think that the responses might be different. Not always in a positive way perhaps, but different nevertheless.

    We can watch Four Corners report and say that 20/20 hindsight tends to paint these worst case scenarios in stark contrast to even the most modest of expectations. And maybe we can hope that the sense of condemnation gets through to the community at large such that attitudes are influenced for the better. Indeed I strongly suspect that changing attitudes is overall the most effective thing we could do.

    We can say that individual police failed, knowing that any enquiry would likely conclude this was an isolated problem that may reflect police attitudes to people from racial minorities. But I don’t think that we actually want the kind of forceful knee jerk reaction whereby the default setting relies so heavily upon or otherwise blames policing.

    We know that police on the whole are well equipped to catch offenders after the fact, but that they’re at a natural disadvantage to prevent any number of similar cases. Because realistically in the case of police applying the appropriate powers under circumstances when they’re required to interpret the level of need to intervene then the likelihood remains that they’ll deal with dozens, possibly hundreds of lesser cases, where discretion is preferred, for every one that relies on their well honed sense of urgency. The fear is that we’re compelled acknowledge a basic level of tolerance for domestic violence at the lower end of the scale that we won’t find easy to accept because the police’s sense of urgency is always going to be too rarely triggered.

    I think we should be looking instead at social support for women who are at risk and wondering why ways out weren’t provided that would successfully have shielded these women from what became their almost inevitable fate at the hands of men whose violence was well known to all involved well in advance.


    • Hypocritophobe August 2, 2012 at 2:07 pm #

      Don’t worry WA police have form.
      They are not alone,though.
      They take the silver medal after QLD as far as treatment of indigenous people by the force.

      I can say with some confidence that a ‘little less care’, is taken if the person issuing a VRO is indigenous.
      Ask the ALS.

      Selective justice.
      Targeted policing.
      Of course we all know that if a few ‘blackfellas’ are seen walking down the road,and Mr Plod drives by,he will automatically get involved.Funny that.


      • hudsongodfrey August 3, 2012 at 11:26 am #

        Yes I know in some places DWB is still considered liable to attract police attention, but overall I think it misses the point to slate prevention of domestic violence in these cases almost solely to police.

        There are plenty of criticisms we can make of these particular police in hindsight, but the better questions about how to prevent this come down to social service provisions in my view.


        • Hypocritophobe August 3, 2012 at 8:45 pm #

          A 60 yo WA woman is now dead ( Murdered in the last few days,) murdered by the person who had an AVO against them.


          • hudsongodfrey August 3, 2012 at 10:01 pm #

            I can’t tell you anything about how without knowing the circumstances of the case, and I’m certainly not saying that AVO’s shouldn’t be enforceable. What I am saying is that the preventative stuff isn’t the police’s strong suit while measures are in place to act decisively upon them by arresting anyone in breach.

            The way enforcement works needs to be pretty well black and white, either the cops arrest people or they don’t. You can’t expect to resource having people sat about waiting for somebody to cross a line that’s not set where they can respond to it in time.

            The point I was making is that unless women at risk are able to avail themselves of protection through social services, as well as the means to get out of dangerous situations to begin with, then an AVO probably isn’t worth the paper its written on.


            • Hypocritophobe August 3, 2012 at 10:30 pm #

              Well(he said reverting to his idealistic hat)I guess if they dare to pull on the boots,they should be prepared to walk in them now and then.I believe the pleadge and contract has no ‘out’ clause for colour or content.
              And given I drove 11 solid hours from rural WA,across some of Perths most built up areas today, and never saw one single police person or car,I would hasten to ask.
              Where the fuck are they?

              We will get another 200 to 400 new invisible recruits next election,to bolster the numbers of the inert.


              • hudsongodfrey August 3, 2012 at 10:59 pm #

                Hopefully they’re out catching real criminals instead of bothering innocent motorists. I gather these days most States have any number of useless revenue raising f***ing speed cameras for that!


    • Jennifer Wilson August 2, 2012 at 5:24 pm #

      I wondered about racism in both cases. Saori came to Australia from Japan to visit, met her husband and stayed.


      • paul walter August 2, 2012 at 11:10 pm #

        Well, as you know, that’s life at the bottom of the heap. It’s the demarcation point between the comfy privileged world of the few, including yours truly, and a world where for billions, life is short, hard and cheap. And in our time there is little sympathy for the underdog. It seems a very Dickensian world, at bottom, after all.
        Don’t let it rock you so hard that it poisons your spirit, its not your fault, after all.


      • hudsongodfrey August 3, 2012 at 11:23 am #

        I’m not sure if racism fits into the mix as something to also be condemned about the apparent neglect by the police, or whether it serves also in part to distract and deflect our attention from the real problem of domestic violence itself.

        At the end of the day my feeling is that we’re doing the wrong thing if we’re inclined to sit back and point fingers at the cops over this. Society ought to have offered those women a better way out than to leave it to police to protect them, because no matter what the rhetoric is meant to be police are far better placed to act after the fact of violence than they are to prevent it.


        • paul walter August 3, 2012 at 4:00 pm #

          There is no doubt that racism is a component in the wider problem.
          The ‘trailor’ culture, for want of a better word, is largely informed by generations-old ideas reinforced by the influence of tabloid media and misunderstandings of what free or libertarian lifestyle might mean, often derived and delivered of commercialised, americanised media.
          In some respects the feminist critique does come into its own in defining the impulses that drive some of the behaviours, eg as to ‘patriarchality’, the inculcated ‘dominance’ mentality and subsequent violence toward others.
          Which is not to say I’d back the Dworkinist/ and or rightwing feminist approaches- the reactive, unself-reflexive impulses toward punishment and conditioning advocated by these rarely show awareness of historical and current factors in the formation of our civilisation, or ourselves.
          The wider picture emerging must be considered, that demonstrates examples and processes; the means and mechanisms of individual and cultural formation and the ways power operates throughout at this stage in human ‘progress’ involving the emergence of some times conflicting class conflicts is hardly considered or understood by many, quite the opposite an understanding is often thwarted in the interest of ill-conceived self interest drives amongst competing influences.
          Tankard Reist and co of course observe the processes and cut crook, but refuse the sort of real world understanding that would enable rather than thwart social and cultural change, that is the sort of thing that would treat the disease rather than the symptoms, as we saw with the silence re priestly kiddie-fiddling


          • hudsongodfrey August 3, 2012 at 4:34 pm #

            We have to remember that feminism informs changing attitudes not just among men but among women as well. It would be sexist to say that women couldn’t or shouldn’t stand up for themselves when under duress from their partners just as it is sexist of men to abuse their ability to physically dominate.

            However in terms of standing up for themselves women should be neither expected nor encouraged to take the fight to a male physically as opposed to escaping situations where they’re at risk. And surely, even if the likes of MTR et al are wrong to conflate feminism with “protecting” women, there is still plenty of room for society to provide protections that women require simply because we know that ideology breaks down when violence erupts.


        • Hypocritophobe August 3, 2012 at 8:46 pm #

          Your too soft HG.
          First the bikies,now lazy cops.
          Families of victims definitely don’t have your level of patience,I’m afraid.


          • hudsongodfrey August 3, 2012 at 10:57 pm #

            It’s not about being soft. It is about saying that there are better ways to solve problems than willing us all to live under a culture of fear in a police state.

            It’s the point I made earlier about not being able to have cops sat outside the residence of every woman who is at risk. It’s the fact that we can’t simply arrest every guy who is accused of assault in a domestic situation. It’s the sad fact that even the worst of them who do get convicted get short sentences, and once they’re at liberty it isn’t going to be possible to keep tabs on them 24/7.

            It’s the fact that if you had an enquiry they’d blame individual cops but they wouldn’t for the life of them be able to doing anything beyond superficial window dressing to address the real structural problems to do with providing better support for women at risk.

            Just blaming cops and pleading to get tough on criminals won’t work. Deterrents do not work most of the time. Look at America, where they gaol a higher proportion of their population than anywhere else and still have crime rates that are simply astronomical.

            Social support services to help women in need were clearly lacking in the case of the woman Andrea for whom shelter could not be found. The support and the protection that these places could provide if properly resourced are sorely needed to fill the gaps that enforcement simply cannot reach.

            And yes, if social support also means helping offenders to motivate themselves in more constructive directions then I think we may as well acknowledge it is needed as opposed to being vindictive to a point where we’d cut off our noses to spite our faces.

            The other really tough thing we may have to do is to tell victims or potential targets of domestic violence that they have to act in ways that help to make themselves smaller targets, even if it seems unfair that they have to modify their behaviour to accommodate someone else’s offending. Obviously none of these situations are ideal, but only a pretty deluded idealist would say that most victims can or should be absolved from that kind of responsibility for their own well-being in the wake of bad relationships. And I am saying that we ought to support them in that because I think it stands a far better chance of practically succeeding than the alternative which seems to be to expect the police or some other third party “them” as it were to act on our/their behalf.


            • paul walter August 4, 2012 at 11:52 am #

              Yes, the compassion fatigue thing and the notion that people have become sensitised to cruelty and violence seems to ring true in disturbing ways. Humanity has not been out of the trees as long as it like to think it has.
              HG is right, the issues have be taken seriously and the work of serious thinking applied, both to prevent cruelty to others and to stop ourselves losing our humanity also.
              Hypo also.These events must NOT be allowed to pass unremarked, there must be resistance, this is part of the same process HG suggests.
              Or again, some day in the future, the Niemoller/Bonhoeffer dictum may end up applying in an unwelcome and personal way, due to lack of effort now.


              • hudsongodfrey August 4, 2012 at 2:00 pm #

                I wonder if there shouldn’t be a sort of “Then they came” developed around the idea of charting the progression of domestic violence.

                First I lost my identity and my independence to my partner, but I thought I could rely on them so it didn’t matter.

                Next I lost my dignity as sense of self worth to their verbal abuse, but I told myself that the good times outweighed the bad.

                Then the drink, gambling and sporadic anger started but I thought I could manage it for the sake of keeping the family together.

                Then when I realised that I couldn’t cope the police and the AVO didn’t work, and the shelters and social services could only do so much.

                They they came for me.


                I don’t know that the stages are accurate or that this would resonate in quite the way that Niemooer’s did, but surely the point to be made would be as valid.


                • Hypocritophobe August 4, 2012 at 3:50 pm #

                  What I am saying is this (from experience).
                  Losing a family member to violence,domestic or any other.
                  To drug fuelled violence or senseless stupidity,or whatever the event,is life changing and in many cases no trauma counselling can overcome.Nor is revenge any sort of prime motive for such impacted people.
                  However to see someone else suffer after such cases, within the same set of circumstances is like re-ripping out ones soul,because you know full well,that there are bloody good reasons such events could have been avoided.In other words another senseless waste of human life,and permanent damage to the survivors,when something could and should have been done. This is another layer of institutionalised abuse.
                  I think we have several versions of idealism here.
                  I am not advocating a police state.I am advocating that police be police.
                  “Protect and Serve.”Who? Criminals?
                  And call me daft,but I want ‘known’ violent arseholes off the street.
                  (Rehabilitating them-if indeed it is actually achievable-is another issue)
                  I do not believe there is any reason to tolerate the scum who sell drugs and bribe cops to do it, all the while incubating a serious and violent drug culture which is totally diminishing the safety of our communities and streets.And killing people directly and as a consequence of that trade.
                  To me police turning their back on stuff,because it’s too hard,too black or too scary is a reflection of how low we have set the bar.
                  That needs to change.Sure we can pontificate about what we ‘should’ look like as a society,but we are living the reality now.
                  How many paedophile priests,lazy and corrupt cops,stand-over thugs etc is tolerable in your street?
                  How many unnecessary victims is the ‘lower acceptable threshold’?
                  It is either too early or too late for ‘unconditional tolerance’ as a form of action(for this society), but either way it doesn’t cut the mustard.
                  And the broader debate about ‘safe’ recreational drug uss,who can and cannot have them, and decriminalising etc,is a whole world away from what I am talking about.I think we can deal with that when it happens,or when Hell freezes over, whichever comes first.


                  • hudsongodfrey August 4, 2012 at 6:36 pm #

                    Drug addiction is a medical problem that isn’t taken seriously enough when the drugs are illicit, and from what I’ve seen recently (on Insight last week) scarcely treated better when the addiction starts through legitimate medical use. The pity is that if we don’t have enough rehab programs or ones that are funded well enough to work, then we have to say that society isn’t looking after the least of its members.

                    The same goes for people, predominantly women and children who need to get out of violent domestic situations. When there aren’t the shelters and support services care for them, then society isn’t looking after the least of its members.

                    So in answer to your questions about how many violent thugs, pederasts or crooked cops we ought to tolerate then the answer has to be that we have laws that don’t tolerate the commission of these crimes on any level. In the real world however we routinely have to tolerate people who have the potential to do these things, who haven’t been caught yet, or who’ve been convicted and done their time. And we can’t simply appoint ourselves arbiters of who has the greatest potential to offend and act on those instincts pre-emptively.

                    And I don’t think this is idealistic by a long stretch. Having to disabuse people who fall foul of society’s ills through the criminal actions of others of their status as innocent victims seems as far from fair as anything that I know of. Yet is it clear that police are only fully empowered to act after a crime has been committed and damage done. So if we want to even mention prevention with any breath of sanity we simply have to look at other solutions.

                    Of course the cops ought to be doing their job to enforce the law better than it appears they were in WA. But what at some level we have to do isn’t to tolerate so much as to look to protect and prevent ourselves from being at risk from the behaviours of others whenever we can. Because in the real world the idea the someone ELSE is going to do that for us is a risk in itself.

                    Either you lock your doors at night or you don’t! Which is it going to be?

                    Either we help people at risk to get the support and take steps needed to get away from the people and life choices that are hurting them or we don’t. Which do you suggest we advocate?


                    • Hypocritophobe August 4, 2012 at 9:16 pm #

                      Sorry HG on this;
                      “Yet is it clear that police are only fully empowered to act after a crime has been committed and damage done. So if we want to even mention prevention with any breath of sanity we simply have to look at other solutions.”
                      I disagree.
                      The police are also empowered to protect. If not WTF is a VRO?
                      And if not there are a lot of people who have a case against police.
                      Moving on orders etc are a classic example.And there are others.Strike breaking etc, and not just under right wing govts.Protests etc.
                      I have heard of people being slapped with dual charges of resisting arrest and escaping legal custody.
                      How do you think the judge dealt with that?

                      I am not saying we should not assist people to protect themselves from, and avoid placing themselves in peril,and don’t know where you got that idea.I’ll say this again.There are violent c*nts out there who offend.
                      Then they re-offend within an atmosphere where police could have changed the end result.
                      Sometimes that end result ends in murder.
                      There are support mecahanism set up to support the families of murder victims and domestic abuse, and many of them exist because many things broke down.One of those things is effective policing.
                      You will never convince me there is a substitute for that part of the process.Yes, there are other layers,but if I/you/anyone has to accept that at some point those paid to PROTECT us (Mr Plod) opt out through fear/corruption or prejudice, I say weak as piss and unacceptable.I don’t care if we gut the force and quadruple their pay,if that’s what it takes.But sadly I see only a back pedalling of standards, and a lowering of expectations.Yep there’s plenty of good cops,plenty of good priests and a heap of kosher motor bike riderss,but there are far too many victims of crimes and their families witnessing a cruel ground hog day,after immense suffering, and an even bigger amount of political/legal fluffery excusing the inexcusable.


                    • hudsongodfrey August 4, 2012 at 9:46 pm #

                      Look I don’t know how we got on seemingly opposite sides of this issue, but by your own account of the facts I think you can see that when you talk about police versus violent c**ts then you probably already realise that sometimes police are just violent c**ts on the other side of the law.

                      My point was and continues to be that force and violence are going to do stuff all to stop violence. It’s like the old saying about fighting for peace being like screwing for virginity.

                      Yes we have to bollock police when they fail to enforce VRO’s that they could reasonably have acted upon with prior warning. But at the end of the day in Andrea’s case even if they’d managed to catch him, which is by no means guaranteed, then he’d have been out again after a while and if that means she’d be back relying on the cops who can only react IF they can catch him in clear breach then she’s going to be living in fear until she gets the heck out of Dodge and goes where he can’t find her. Shitful though that may be for all involved it seems like it might have been the only way. And up to a point I think she tried to do that, but clearly not with anything like enough support from I think social services in particular even though the police failed.

                      If you really want to argue the veracity of how VRO’s are supposed to work then I think you also have to lay some blame at the feet of the legal system rather than just the people supposed to be enforcing it. If you wrote a VRO such that being within 100 miles of the subject was prohibited then at least you might give the cops a fighting chance to enforcing them. But any time two people are permitted to be in the same city then the level of vigilance required to enforce it is probably impracticable.


  10. Yellow OMG Dude August 5, 2012 at 10:18 am #

    The legal system and lack of adequate social support systems are a major part of the problem. I’ve encountered a lot of understanding and support from police when trying to help someone experiencing domestic violence, but often the police have had little or no power to act or nowhere safe to offer the person refuge. Though I’ve also encountered the odd police officer totally unmoved by the situation, it may be that they have decided that such cases are futile due to the lack of support available. That’s not to say that there aren’t many instances of police failing to act appropriately or take any action at all.

    To help with cases of domestic violence it seems obvious that good support structures are needed to give individuals a safe and secure environment with enough adequate resources to also help them address their current circumstances. Psychological help needs to be a key part of any social support system, but we still fail dismally at providing essential mental health care and support to our communities at large. Often people don’t receive any adequate mental health support until they are hospitalised. Easy access to psychological counselling would help many to improve their lives, cope with traumatic events and avoid situations leading to abuse, conflict or neglect.

    Rather than address the well being of our society, many politicians focus their campaign on tough sentencing with little regard paid to implementation, rather than target the underlying problems that lead to social dysfunction. Our society is plagued by apathy, selfishness and a lack of courage to support those who stand up against institutional neglect and bureaucratic impropriety. Often those working in the justice system and police force who do try to foster change, make a stand against malpractice or support the marginalised, find themselves without support from the wider community. Until we are more willing to address the complex problems of mental well-being, social justice and the prevalence of social stigmas and inequality, then will continue to see the breakdown of families and relationships. Shouldn’t our families and relationships be a major priority of our society, with adequate support services available to help all members of our communities?


    • hudsongodfrey August 5, 2012 at 10:39 am #

      Agree. Been trying to say much the same.


    • Jennifer Wilson August 6, 2012 at 6:58 am #

      Well said. We are indeed “plagued by apathy, selfishness and lack of courage.” And greed.


  11. paul walter August 5, 2012 at 2:11 pm #

    Interesting discussions on social media indicate the similarity in places from Canada and the US, to Campbell Newman’s Qld, where the Tea Party agenda of economic lunacy, including the War on Women and the hacking away at of social spending, legalised tax evasion for the rich , media dumbing down and enviro rampage, has become a world wide phenomena.
    At the time when support for victims of crime ought to be maintained at least, if not improved, it seems likely that funds will be diminished further.


    • zerograv1 August 5, 2012 at 3:39 pm #

      When funding was cut, people in the NT – especially in Outback towns, (and aligned with the perception that the police would do nothing) lead to country/cowboy style justice, people taking the law into their own hands sometimes with disturbing results.


  12. Sam Jandwich August 7, 2012 at 5:22 pm #

    I really want to say something constructive and useful here but I just can’t. All I can really say about domestic violence is that it seems to me the depths of emotional dysfunction required to perpretrate it must be such that the “warning signs” are virtually impossible to identify and deal with until some sort of violence actually happens, by which time the victim is already stuck. I’d really like to be able to understand the phenomenon better but I’ve just never seen anything that comes close to being convincing by way of explanation for why people do it.

    I suppose the only sensible response is to fall back on the old “the price of freedom is eternal vigilance”, and to counter-perpetrate a culture of zero tolerance to violence. But what’s the point of trying to build a worthwhile life when it entails plumbing the depths of what humanity is capable of?

    I suppose that’s why it’s such an intractable problem.


    • Jennifer Wilson August 7, 2012 at 5:44 pm #

      I think it’s to do with lack of impulse control. There are many people I’d like to wallop, but I know how not to. Children lash out all the time and have to be taught to control that. Some people never learn, or aren’t taught. I honestly think it is as basic as that.


  13. Hypocritophobe August 20, 2012 at 9:07 am #

    Welcome to the wild west.
    Lazy politicians,invisible cops,shattered families,dysfunctional poor, a disintegrating social welfare base..
    Thankyou mining boom.Thankyou wealth and prosperity.Thankyou dispossession.
    Thankyou Premier Barnett



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