No to Violence commissioned a survey by Stable Research to see how the physical restrictions and lock down were affecting men and whether they knew of available support.
The results, although not entirely unexpected, were confronting:
- Nearly two thirds expressed increased levels of stress associated with the lockdown.
- Almost half said this had led to more tension, yelling and conflict in the home.
- One in ten of those surveyed said they’d had aggressive thoughts or actions towards people in their household, which includes damaging walls and throwing things at their family.
- More than 3% surveyed felt they were at risk of committing an act of family violence.
What is more worrying is that the majority of men surveyed also said they would not know where to go for help to prevent this behaviour. Of those who did, they were often going places which were not appropriately trained to deal with this issue.
We also asked about what the barriers would be to accessing support. When came back to us citing fears of stigma, being judged, being seen as soft, concern about justice involvement, fears of cost.
Some common responses include:
- Shame and embarrassment
- Police charges
- A lack of time
- Not knowing where to get support
- Financial reasons
As a sector, our services are free, take a non-judgemental approach and are focused on supporting people to be the best they can be.
What does this mean?
What we need to do as a collective sector is increase awareness of the support available.
This means raising the awareness of our colleagues in related sectors, such as mental health, housing and homelessness, alcohol and other drugs, that if they see someone who is using violence, there are supports available.
No to Violence, as Australia’s largest peak body for organisations that work with men who use violence, and the providers of the Men’s Referral Service that provide one-off counselling and referral to services across the country, are also increasing awareness.
We are beginning a campaign which seeks to raise awareness of the Men’s Referral Service, and addressing some of the barriers to men seeking help. We are reaching out across Australia to make people aware of the service. We are hanging up flyers in men’s bathrooms so men can sit and contemplate.
We are focusing this on how we can work together to be better than this.
As a community, we need to do better than this.
All people experiencing violence deserve better than this.
And those who use violence in the home can be better than this.