The Other Side of Partner Violence
Craig Jackson is a former child and educational psychologist now retired who joined the New Zealand branch of ‘Families Need Fathers’ in the late 1970s prior to the establishment of the Family Court in 1981. He also helped to establish the Wellington-based ‘Equal Parental Rights Society’ and trained fellow psychologists to complete psychological reports to help guide the Family Court in issues affecting the custody of, and access to, children. He has maintained this interest over the entire 33 year history of the Court, also making submissions to the Ministry of Justice’s Review on the Family Court. He made separate submissions on domestic violence and the repeal of the Bristol clause to the Electoral and Justice Select Committee hearing submissions on the Family Bill subsequently enacted in October 2013.He has also acted as a support person for men in contested care of children issues before the Family Court.
Hans Laven is a clinical psychologist with a professional interest in domestic and wider violence. He presented submissions on this topic to the Justice and Electoral Select Committee on Family Law Reform.Dr Viv Roberts is a General Practitioner with thirty years experience. He has dealt with many families in crisis, some involved in Family Court proceedings. He has taken a special interest in fatal male suicides and the motivations involved and in attempted suicides by women. He has appeared before a Parliamentary Select Committee to make submissions on this topic.
The PreambleSo large and extensive is the international literature on domestic violence that it is possible to quote selectively from studies that support the ‘frame of reference’ of both the women’s lobby groups and the men’s lobby groups.The aim of this paper is to review recent New Zealand reports concerning family violence, and to consider the extent to which selecting reporting and manipulation of the statistics have both exaggerated and misrepresented the problem of intimate partner violence.Internationally respected findings from articles on domestic violence originating from the Christchurch and Dunedin longitudinal studies have not been quoted in the most recently issued reports by women’s lobby groups who have dominated the debate so far with extensive press publicity given to their findings. By contrast the men’s lobby, less well organised and less cohesive, have experienced great difficulty in getting their side of the story heard in the media.In a democratic society such as New Zealand’s when dissenting views on other social problems are encouraged, the lack of balanced debate on the problem of I.P.V. is far from healthy.This report aims to redress this lack of balance and to highlight the pressing need for a more ‘gender-proportionate’ understanding that all forms of I.P.V. cut both ways and that it is not exclusively a gender-specific male as perpetrator, female as victim problem as it is too often made out to be by the women’s lobby groups.There is now a general consensus from both the New Zealand and international literature that women inflict physical violence on their male partners as often as men do, although the injuries they inflict are not as severe as men’s assaults on average. These studies together describe intimate partner violence including psychological violence as mutual, bi-directional and intergenerational. Only the intergenerational dynamic is discussed in the Tolmie and Herbert reports.In spite of their apparent academic rigour and their authors’ academic credentials, it is submitted that these studies are more in the nature of ideological polemics than scholarly undertakings that would impartially review the family violence literature in a balanced way.
Family First put out a welcoming release but when I asked Bob McCoskrie if he'd had any interest he said none.
The media coverage has been light to say the least.
Tell me, have you heard about it?
(Good on Tim Fookes, NewstalkZB, Wgtn, for interviewing one of the authors this morning.)