Do Men Need Protection from Domestic Violence Laws?0
Domestic Violence (DV) is consistently reported to be at epidemic levels in today’s society and undoubtedly remains a problem predominantly suffered by women at the hands of men*.
In answer, Communities and Governments have justifiably united to promote a culture of zero tolerance to DV and to enforce this with stronger DV laws however, in this drive to normalise zero tolerance, an alarming counter-culture is now on the rise.
Court applications for DV protection orders have increased dramatically however in some cases the DV allegations are as trivial as “he hogged the TV remote”. In other cases, applicants are casting back years into history to drag up past events to justify present-day orders despite no subsequent repeat incident. Worse still are cases where a DV order is sought because the person feels “harassed” by her ex-partner saying he will hire a lawyer and take her to court to press for a better deal over property or children’s issues. In short there is a growing trend of women using DV laws as a form of weapon to gain leverage against their male ex-partners.
Even when the evidence in favour of a DV order is very weak, a zero tolerance environment stacks the odds against any man who dares to defend his innocence and, with the costs of hiring a lawyer to assist with that defence running on average between $2,500 and $12,000, most men understandably give up and consent to an order being made against them.
Whilst a DV order is not a criminal conviction, it inevitably carries a stigma even though orders on a non-admission basis are available. Beyond this, DV orders typically restrict freedoms of movement/communication by, for example prohibiting coming within 100 meters of the victim in a public place and, where children are involved, prohibiting contact unless first authorised by a court order or written consent from the victim/parent. The affected parent (typically the father) will therefore be forced to either succumb to the mother’s terms or go the hard-way round and spend many weeks/months pushing through the legal system of mediation and courts before he can again see his children. Domestic violence against women is a very serious problem however. In solving this problem there must also be built in some protection for the men/fathers who are, in increasing numbers, themselves becoming victims of the system.
*1 in 6 women are reported to have been victims of domestic violence compared to only 1 in 17 men.
Michael Zande is a Queensland Law Society accredited family law specialist with over 25 years experience in the field. He is the principal at Zande Law Solicitors, Suite 7, Norwinn Centre, 15 Discovery Dr, North Lakes. To contact Michael for advice, phone 3385 0999.
The information in this article is merely a guide and is not a full explanation of the law. This firm cannot take responsibility for any action readers take based on this information. When making decisions that could affect your legal rights, please contact us for professional advice.