Domestic violence – in focus

Over the last week or so, I have spoken to a number of people who have asked me whether I had seen the Q&A program on ABC1 that aired on Monday, 23 February 2015.  The people who have asked me this have been both friends and colleagues.  I had to admit to them that I hadn’t watched the program but I had seen the advertising and some of the highlights that my friends had posted to social media.

I used to be an avid Q&A fan, particularly around election time.  I have a friend in Brisbane who would occasionally message me and we would “watch” Q&A together albeit that she was in Brisbane where she teaches and I was up here in Toowoomba.  However, given the demands of my little people and my desire to sleep, most of my television watching over the last 2 years has been by “catch up” on ABC iView.

I finally had a chance of the last few days to watch the Q&A episode.  The open question resonated with me.  The question to the panel was from a lady called Kay Schubach.  For those of you who haven’t seen the episode, this was her question:

I was in a violent, abusive relationship with a controlling but very charming and popular man and we lived in a prestigious neighbourhood.  I’m an educated, independent woman and I had never experienced abuse before.  When the violence started, I was too embarrassed and ashamed to seek help from my friends or the police until I was nearly strangled in my own home.  Similarly, I was too afraid to face my abuser in court to get an AVO in place as he still had access to all areas of my life.  So my question is, how do we dispel the social cliché that this doesn’t happen in our nice homes?  And how do we dispel the stigma that keeps women ashamed and silent?

Rosy Batty’s response was was typical of what I am now seeing in my practice over the last 5 years.  Domestic violence affects 1 in 3 women and 1 in 3 men.  Victims of domestic violence are just as likely to be male as they are female.  In my practice I have acted for a wide cross-section of both men and women who have been affected by domestic violence from various walks of life and ranging from those with limited educations to highly educated professionals, including lawyers.

Over the next few weeks, my posts will focus on domestic and family violence.  I am currently preparing a new Explain to me fact sheet.  Hopefully this will cover both the Queensland and New South Wales jurisdictions.

New domestic and family violence smart phone applications

In the meantime, the Women’s Legal Service and the New South Wales Government have recently released smart phone apps about domestic violence.

The Re-focus app released by the Women’s Legal Service is designed to give practical information to women (and I would also say men) about the legal issues around domestic and family violence and useful resources, referrals, and coping tips to help people who are experiencing family and domestic violence.  You can find the app by searching for Re-focus in either the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

The New South Wales Government has also released Aurora, a similar app to Re-focus.  It is also available by searching the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

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