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Family First or Women’s Safety Last?

Family First or Women’s Safety Last?

“Perhaps Family First should change its name to Women’s Safety Last” says Leonie Morris, spokesperson for the Coalition for the Safety of Women and Children, in response to Bob McCoskrie of Family First stating he will not wear a white ribbon because men and women are equally violent in relationships.

“Bob is confusing couple conflict with domestic violence. The mild forms of couple conflict interactions that Bob is describing do not create fear or severe emotional distress and do not constitute a pattern of abuse. This is distinctly different from the violence called domestic violence or battering. There is a great deal of research that would like to prove that women and girls are as violent as men. This research does not measure domestic violence - it measures partner conflict that does not result in fear or severe harm.

“In New Zealand 95% of Protection Order applicants are women, the vast majority of domestic violence cases requiring police intervention involve female victims and a Government study of all couple-related homicides found that ninety percent of the perpetrators were men.”

“Male violence against women is often used to exercise power and control over women and presents a very real risk to physical safety, with one third of women being physically or sexually abused by their partners or ex-partners at some stage in their lifetime. This clearly makes it a gendered issue.

The United Nations says that "Violence in the domestic sphere is usually perpetrated by males who are, or who have been, in positions of trust and intimacy and power – husbands, boyfriends, fathers, fathers-in-law, stepfathers, brothers, uncles, sons, or other relatives. Domestic violence is in most cases violence perpetrated by men against women. Women can also be violent, but their actions account for a small percentage of domestic violence."

We need everyone to recognise domestic violence when they see it so they ask for help, or support the victim to receive help, from the appropriate agencies. Bob’s confusion jeopardises the excellent work taking place throughout the country designed to keep women and children safe.


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