Fines should be issued to witnesses who ignore domestic violence

Fines should be issued to witnesses who ignore domestic violence

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Zoe Sung started this petition to The Australian Parliament

Domestic violence is a disturbingly common form of abuse that happens between family members although it usually goes unreported. Domestic violence comes in physical, mental, emotional, social and sexual abuse. This is an issue because it harms people in many factors, especially their health. The trauma changes them and scars them, permanently if they suffered from a serious case. It affects an individual’s health, wellbeing, education, relationships and housing outcomes. Children and women are usually the main victims, which cause other issues like gender inequality and child abuse.

Acts of domestic violence are categorised as criminal cases and punishments such as 2-year sentences and $2, 200 fines are issued to the suspect. The victims are properly cared for and treated to ensure that their well-being is healthy. But, what about the witnesses? You might be thinking at this moment, "What about the witnesses?" Police officers are consistently hearing the same thing from witnesses again and again. "I heard/saw/knew about the violence but didn't want to get involved." However, they didn't think about how knowing that someone is engaged in a violent situation and reporting it to authorities, could help save someone's life.

Statistics - Domestic Violence:

  • One in six women and one and 16 men in Australia have experienced physical or sexual violence from a current or previous cohabiting partner.
  • 25% of women and 5% of men have experienced emotional abuse.
  • 25,000 sexual assaults recorded by police in 2017
  • one woman is killed every nine days and one man is killed every 29 days on average by their partner.
  • 17 adults were hospitalised every day from 2016 to 2017 due to an assault by a partner or other family member.
  • 42% of specialist homelessness services clients have experienced family and domestic violence
  • 26,500 children aged 0 to 9 were assisted by specialist homelessness services due to domestic violence from 2017 to 2018
    2.2 million Australians have experienced physical or sexual violence.
  • indigenous people are 32 times as likely to be hospitalised for family violence compares to non-indigenous people from 2016 to 2017.
  • more than 30 calls a day were made to elder abuse helplines across Australia from 2017 to 2018.

The Story of Andrea

"I was 19 when I started dating my now ex-boyfriend. At first he seemed charming, witty, funny, and adventurous. I fell in love with him right away. For the first couple of months everything was great, but then the fights started – at first over very petty things, like my not having a special ringtone for him on my phone. It escalated into things about my behaviour – suddenly everything I was doing was wrong, and I found myself apologising to him several times a day for things I did that upset him, which was nearly everything. I felt like I was walking on eggshells around him because literally anything I said or did could upset him."

The Story of David

"I was a single dad with children and remarried. What an idiot I was. I should have spotted the warning signs. Whenever anything went wrong, she’d blame me. Anyway, it turned into a living nighmare within a year of being married. She took every opportunity to belittle me. When in a temper, she often hit me but never on the face. I thought I deserved it because I was withdrawn and a bad husband – that’s what she kept saying. I couldn’t leave because that would have meant leaving my children."

When i read their story, it made me realise that people suffered but hid it beneath everything else. The fear, confusion and pain they felt was not able to be expressed, causing their problems and violence unreported. Bur others can. If others knew their friend, family or neighbour was experiencing domestic violence, and continue to ignore the fact that it's happening and go on with their life without a care, there should be a punishment for them too. They had the power to report the case as they aren't a victim to the violence, but didn't.

Therefore, I, a 13-year-old student, respectfully requests that the Australian Federal Government, consider a bill that states how witnesses who do not try to step in to help the victim should deserve a fine as well as the offender. 

Please sign this petition to show your support and to prevent more cases of domestic violence.


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