22 Jun 2009

Researcher critical of domestic violence material

6:57 pm on 22 June 2009

Campaigns and resources aimed at empowering women to leave violent home environments could be having the opposite effect, a researcher says.

A Massey University study on domestic violence has found that advice material needs to focus on the community of the woman who is reporting abuse.

Ang Jury is critical of the educational materials and the websites of Women's Refuge and police, which she says use language that create a sense of shame and self-blame.

Dr Jury says resources are too focused on what the abused person should do to stop the violence.

She says telling women to take responsibility for making a change to a violent situation can reinforce their feelings of weakness.

Alarm at rise in abuse

Meanwhile, women's refuges are alarmed at the increasing number of cases involving adult children violently abusing their parents.

The National Collective of Independent Women's Refuges says the number of women looking for help increased 16% last year, and is expected to rise further this year.

The manager of Christchurch Women's Refuge, Annette Gillespie, says part of that increase could be the result of an increasing number of young adults moving back home because financial pressures.

Ms Gillespie says there is also significant concern among the elderly community about the amount of violence from middle-aged adults towards older people.