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Alcohol and Distorted Views Implicated In Family Violence

Alcohol and Distorted Views Implicated In Family Violence

According to research conducted for the Glenn Inquiry, a belief that family violence is a normal part of family life is the biggest barrier to perpetrators acknowledging their behaviour is wrong.

Perpetrators of family violence who took part in the study also commonly associated their alcohol and drug use with their violence and cited this as another barrier to reform.

The independent Glenn Inquiry into Child Abuse and Domestic Violence commissioned crime and justice researchers Dr Michael Roguski and Natalie Gregory to work with perpetrators to try and find out what might motivate them to stop inflicting harm, and to explore what help and support works to change behaviour.

The 26 mainly men who took part in the study had been violence free for at least the previous 12 months. There was no single simple answer but there were common themes that have implications for designing an effective system for reducing family violence rates.

These included the normalisation of violence – all but four of the group were exposed to family violence as children. Most thought violence was acceptable after being raised in violent homes and communities where it was normalised.

Half said they had to stop or cut back their drinking and drug use before they could be violence free.

All cited distrust of and dissatisfaction with mental health professionals as a barrier to getting help.

Dr Roguski says distorted views of masculinity were strongly associated with the normalisation of violence. “Masculinity underscored patriarchal views of women and relationships that positioned women as subservient and responsive to men’s demands. Inherently these constructions supported the right of the male to intimidate and be physically violent: effectively maintaining abusive behaviour.”

The perpetrators had mixed views about non-violence programmes but reported they worked better when they could share experiences with a facilitator or role model who had “walked the talk”, but there also had to be follow-up support.

The inquiry is releasing a summary of the report and Dr Roguski’s recommendations today. Both the summary and the full-length research report, “Former Family Violence Perpetrators’ Narratives for Change”, are available on the Glenn Inquiry website - www.glenninquiry.org.nz - under the tab

“Where Are We Up To?”

The Inquiry is developing its own set of recommendations on issues the research raises for inclusion in a wider Blueprint, which will lay out a new model for dealing with family violence in New Zealand.


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