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Judge's Attitude To Domestic Violence Outrageous

Judge's Attitude To Domestic Violence Outrageous

Women student representatives are alarmed at the comments of Judge Philip Recordon to a restorative justice conference this week, and are concerned at the message he is promoting regarding domestic violence.

"Taking a lighter stance on domestic violence sends the wrong message to perpetrators, survivors and society generally. Any minimising or differentiation of domestic violence risks normalising such acts, and reduces the likelihood of survivors speaking out and being taken seriously," said Karen Price, National Women's Rights Officer at the New Zealand University Students' Association (NZUSA).

Women student representatives are also questioning the Judge's reference to 80% of women choosing to stay with abusive partners, and the language used by many when discussing domestic violence.

"This is simply not true, as many women do not have genuine 'choice'. A more accurate description of this phenomenon could be that 80% of perpetrators of domestic violence manage to retain their victims," said Price.

"The blaming of victims and survivors must stop. The language used, even unwittingly, often apportions blame in the wrong direction. The categories used by the Waitakere Family Violence Court are also cause for great concern. To suggest that a family man is someone who lashes out when under stress is grossly offensive and irresponsible," said Price.

There is also concern over the Judge's lighter treatment of men with no previous convictions, which can be very dangerous and misleading. Potentially, offending has just got so bad that coping strategies are no longer working, and out of fear and desperation a call for help has been made.

"Domestic violence must be acknowledged and challenged for what it is - assault. The answer is to address it seriously and constructively, not merely to minimise such acts. As a society we all, and particularly men, need to be a part of the solution," said Price.


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