IMPACT: Domestic Violence | Great Health Guide
IMPACT: Domestic Violence

IMPACT: Domestic Violence

‘Domestic Violence’ by Dr Helen Dodd published in Great Health Guide (Feb 2017). Domestic violence kills more woman than road accidents, yet there is little funding and attention given to domestic violence prevention. We must hold our governments accountable in allocating funds to domestic violence services to help bring violence against women to an end.
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IMPACT: Domestic Violence

By Dr Helen Dodd

What is terrorism? Who are terrorists? Terrorists are those who inflict terror on individuals for their own gratification. They may have been raised in a group where inflicting terror was the main method of domination. They do not recognise the laws of the country and refuse to be held responsible for their own actions. They accuse other individuals of causing the problem. When they cannot get their own way or are defeated, they may resort to killing and are often prepared to commit suicide.

Australian of the Year, Rosie Batty made the following statements in her speech to the National Press Club, Canberra, June 3rd 2015.

“We see whenever there is the slight threat of terrorism it’s amazing how funding can be found to combat that where seemingly there was no funding before,” she said.

“Let’s start calling family violence, terrorism and then maybe we can start to see funding flowing to this area.”

“We have an obligation right now to put pressure on governments to prioritize this issue and the safety and rights of victims.”

She suggested that if ‘family violence’ was called ‘family terrorism’ then Government funding would immediately be made available. She urged the Government and all politicians to address the safety and rights of victims.


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“As of this week, 13 Australian women have reportedly been killed as a result of domestic violence in the first seven weeks of 2015. That’s almost two women per week.” At this rate there will be 104 women killed by a male associate during 2015. This terrible statistic was reported by Lucia Osborne- Crowley (journalist and producer at Women’s Agenda, Feb 19th 2015).

By comparison, 79 females were killed in road accidents in Victoria in 2013-14 and 64 died in 2014-15. So nearly twice as many women are killed by males from domestic violence in Australia than are killed on Victorian roads in 12 months. So much money is spent to reduce road and traffic deaths, extra police patrol the roads, speed cameras and random breath testing, with courts, fines and imprisonment for offenders. However, twice the number of women are dying from domestic violence, but where are the police, the rules, the courts, the fines and the imprisonment?


The age-old culture, of the male-dominating role in the family, must change as we move into the 21st century. It is 2017, not 1917 or 1817! Over the past 200 years, women have achieved change in many areas, with the right to vote, the right to work if pregnant, the right to return to employment after pregnancy, the right to study engineering and mathematics, the right to use contraceptive medication and the right to serve in combat roles in the Australian Defence Force.

However, despite the advances that have been made by females in Western society, women and their children are still not safe in a society where their male partner can inflict physical violence upon them. A domestic violence order (DVO) puts limits on the behaviour of the person who is being violent, but in many cases these orders are ignored.


1. During the Federal Budget speech on May 12th 2015, the Treasurer Mr Joe Hockey, allocated $1.2 billion for Australia’s fight against terrorists and only $30 million to stopping domestic violence in an awareness campaign. In Sept 2015, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, announced a $100 million package to address domestic and family violence through a Women’s Safety Program. It included $21 million for specific measures to help indigenous women and their communities.


2. Continued under-funding of domestic violence services: Sept 26th 2016, new analysis from Homelessness Australia indicates that an additional $33.8 million per annum of Federal Government funding is required for crisis accommodation to provide basic needs and shelter to women fleeing domestic violence.

3. Turn-away figures: Currently domestic violence is the single biggest driver of homelessness for Australian women and children, with 23% of people seeking access to Specialist Homelessness Services. This inadequate funding means that at least 2,800 women fleeing domestic violence are turned away each year. Community Legal Centres are turning away 150,000 people a year, with a third related to family violence.

What statistics do the politicians need to see before they take some action and allocate adequate money to stop this epidemic?

We do not need a Royal Commission that wastes money with no real action forthcoming. Governments must empower Law Courts and Police to improve protection for family members against continuing acts of abuse and violence by their partners. People who work in schools, hospitals, churches and other government institutions must be trained to recognise victims of violent abuse. It must be mandatory to report such a situation to a well- funded and responsible agency for immediate action. Information must be shared between various Federal and State departments.


How can we help? The men who perpetrate violence are someone’s sons, brothers, fathers or friends. You know who they are! It is up to you to change societies’ attitude to these violent acts. If that person is your son, your brother or your father, tell them you are not going to accept their behaviour any more.

Stopping and preventing terror and violence against women and children will change society for the better. But it is up to all of us, men and women, young and old, to speak up and stop domestic violence in our communities.

Author of this article:
Dr. Helen Dodd BSc. BPharm. PhD. has taught in Universities and worked extensively in Community Pharmacy. Now retired, she has an active interest in researching information to improve health and well-being of the community. Helen may be contacted by email.

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