Pet cruelty, verbal abuse, punching walls: Domestic Violence 2012

Attorney-General Nicola Roxon and her predecessor Robert McClelland have been hailed as ‘heroes’ this week for dragging Australia’s domestic violence laws into the 21st Century.

The definition of domestic violence has been changed to include:

1. Stalking.

2. Repeated verbal abuse.

3. Intentionally damaging or destroying property. (Similar to what happened in Grant Hackett’s family home).

4. Preventing someone having contact with friends or family.

5. Cruelty to the family pet

The Family Law Act has been changed to also ask whether children have been exposed to domestic violence. This would apply if a child ‘sees or hears … or otherwise experiences the effects of family violence’.

Comedian and writer Catherine Deveny takes up the case against the critics of the changes. She writes:

“Nicola Roxon and all involved are today’s heroes after this magnificent triumph for victims of domestic violence.

This incredible justice has been met with tantrums from some, who I can only assume are abusers or sympathetic to abusers because they conveniently prop up many of their beliefs and prejudices. These people assert changes in the law will lead to an ‘avalanche’ of false claims by vindictive partners and that there are ‘millions’ of false rape and abuse claims. By women.

Shouldn’t these thug apologists who all seem to believe men are the hidden majority of domestic violence victims be thrilled by this news? Why are they not ecstatic  more women will be punished and justice be done for this disproportionate amount of silent male victims?

Catherine Deveny

Bone up.

1. Over 75% of domestic violence cases go unreported.

2. Now we’ve added emotional, verbal, social and financial abuse to the definition of domestic violence the percentage of unreported and reported cases will increase significantly.


3. 95% of domestic violence victims are women.

4. Domestic violence is the leading cause of death or injury for women aged 15 – 44.

5. The most dangerous place for a woman or girl is in her own home.

6. The person most likely to injure, assault or kill a girl or woman is a man she is related to.

7. Most women don’t report domestic violence. Most don’t even consider it violence as many are chosen as partners by bullies and creeps precisely because these women are naive, vulnerable and/or easy to manipulate and have been convinced abuse is their fault or minimized the abuser’s resposibility for their actions. Some studies suggest greater amounts of empathy could make some more susceptible to becoming victims of domestic violence than others.

8. The amount of false claims are minuscule (and the amount of false claims that lead to charges 1000 times smaller than minuscule) in comparison to the amount that go unreported or result in no charges.

9. Misogynists will amplify the false claims and amount of female perpetrators and minimise the amount, extent and variety of abuse.

10. It is not only domestic violence if there are bruises, cuts, broken bones or blood you can see. Domestic violence is an epidemic.

This change in the law is not making the goal posts wider but a long overdue catch up. The law has been behind for centries and finally it’s beginning to catch up. Victims of domestic violence are not now ‘out in front’ , they are just a little less behind than they are and have been for years.

Let’s hope social attitudes from Neanderthals, internalized misogynists and self-hating women will follow.

It’s not okay to bully, slap, punch, stalk, hate on, scream at or hurt bitches, slags, nags or sluts either.

Even if they were ‘asking for it’.”

This was first published on Catherine Deveny’s website here.

– One woman’s story. The truth about why she didn’t leave.

What do you think of the new laws? Could they have helped you or a friend?

Catherine Deveny is a writer, comedian and social commentator. Her novel The Happiness Show will be published in 2012 by Black Inc Books. You can follow Catherine on Twitter here. You can see her In Conversation With Samuel Johnson June 17 buy tickets here.