By Michael Giles
IT’S good news that the Australian Government is committing $100 million extra to measures that will “provide a safety net for women and children at high risk of experiencing violence”.
The package, according to an announcement last week, will improve frontline support and services, leverage innovative technologies to keep women safe, and provide education resources to help change community attitudes to violence and abuse.
“We must elevate this issue to our national consciousness, and make it clear that domestic, family or sexual violence is unacceptable in any circumstances,” says a worthy sentiment in the announcement.
But there’s not one word of assessment, in the statement, about why violence against women in particular is on the rise now, including in this area, where the courts are clogged with violent domestic crimes and applications for intervention orders, in an effort to stop it.
But one line in the announcement may provide a pointer: “We will work with businesses and community groups to keep women safe from being tracked and harassed through mobile phones…” and you can add to that the rise in the use of social media as well.
Yes alcohol is often a major contributing factor and to a lesser extent, drugs, particularly ice but the situation now, where people in dispute have access to each other 24/7 by mobile phone and social media has got to be a major contributing factor.
Much of the harassment we see in the courts starts with or involves text messaging or mobile phone calls.
This relatively new phenomenon needs to be studied and recommendations made.
If, as suspected, the mobile phone is a major contributing factor, those who are the subject of family violence orders or convictions should have their mobile phones confiscated and be banned from obtaining a mobile phone account for the duration of the order or penalty.
It’s already the case that those who have a family violence order taken out against them have to show cause why they should be allowed to keep their guns. Why not do the same with their mobile phones, especially if they are implicated in the crime or nuisance reports.
And while they are at it, the courts should make it mandatory that anyone who has a violence intervention order taken out against them or is convicted of a violent crime should have to complete a behavioural change program.