Mission Australia fails children by ignoring violent mothers

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We can only protect children by telling the truth about domestic violence. Mission Australia’s new homeless appeal features a terrified mother and child escaping a violent father. That’s a tragic situation but only part of the story. 

The reality is that children in violent families are just as likely to be cowering from their mothers as their fathers. Children are more likely to be killed by their mothers – women account for 52 percent of child homicides

In our communities there are many people who grew up afraid of their mothers. A major study of young people in Australia found 23 per cent of young people were aware of domestic violence against their mothers or stepmothers but almost as many (22 per cent) witnessed violence against their fathers or stepfathers by their mothers or stepmothers. 

Over 40 years of international research shows most family violence is two-way, involving violent women as well as men. We will never break the cycle of violence that teaches children to repeat these dangerous patterns unless we stop all family violence.

Enough of the lies pretending domestic violence is simply about dangerous men terrorising their families. That’s less than one per cent of family violence, according to our key researcher Kim Halford, a professor of clinical psychology at the University of Queensland.

Mission Australia’s campaign is cynically exploiting our natural sympathy for women and children – when they are well aware that men and children are also victims of women’s violence. 

Ross Cameron on Sky News’ The Outsiders last week denounced Mission Australia for blatantly seeking government funding by demonizing men. This “once great NGO has sold out,” he said. He pointed out there’s no evidence that domestic violence is reduced by confronting hard-working men with posters in trains suggesting they are all violent wife-beaters.     

We look back in shame at our past failure to protect children from sex abuse by failing to acknowledge what was happening to them. Mission Australia must be censured for selling out children by denying the real risks they are experiencing in violent homes. 

Recently Australia spoke out against Lifeline’s decision to include the anti-male feminist crusader Clementine Ford in a domestic violence forum. Nearly 15,000 signed a protest petition and the event was cancelled.  

Join our petition to stand up against all family violence. We ask Mission Australia to cancel their offensive, anti-male campaign and tell the truth about this important social issue.