Following is an open letter to Terri Reilly, Chief Executive Officer, Relationships Australia WA by the President of the Australian Men’s Rights Association Inc (AMRA).
President of Australian
Men’s Rights Association Inc.
Chief Executive Officer
Relationships Australia WA
Relationships Australia WA (hereafter RAWA) bills itself as having a vision to:
Better lives for all Western Australians, their families and their communities, within a society that is inclusive, responsive and supportive of all, and where strong, healthy relationships are promoted and valued.
Recent media reports suggest that RAWA may be conducting its activities without the benefit of research covering the full scope of intimate partner violence (IPV) and domestic violence (DV). This disadvantages not just men who are victims of DV/IPV but women who are victims of DV/IPV as well. It is important that an organisation like RAWA uses the best available research on intimate partner violence and domestic violence to underpin its work. This letter contains a brief overview but I trust it encourages staff at your organisation to review research on the subject matter.
Intimate partner violence (IPV) can be broadly divided in to two categories. Reciprocal IPV in which each person in the relationship is both a perpetrator and victim of IPV and non-reciprocal IPV in which one partner is the perpetrator and the other the victim. The Partner Abuse State of Knowledge (PASK) Project, the largest meta-analysis of DV/IPV research ever undertaken, shows that more than half of all IPV is reciprocal.
The Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study found high rates of reciprocal IPV among study participants. The document Findings About Partner Violence From the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study released by the US National Institute of Justice found:
When the data were analyzed, victimized women were 10 times more likely to be perpetrators than other women and male perpetrators also were 19 times more likely to be victims than other men.”
The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health also found that about half of all IPV is reciprocal IPV. The study examined differences in injury rates between reciprocal and non-reciprocal IPV and found that injury rates are higher in reciprocal IPV than non-reciprocal IPV.
One of the key indicators of whether a woman will be a victim of IPV is whether she is a perpetrator of IPV. It follows then that one important way that a woman can avoid being a victim of IPV is to not be a perpetrator of IPV. Research by Capaldi has found that this holds true. Models that ignore reciprocal IPV can inhibit violent women from receiving the support they need to stop their violence.
The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health found that women were the perpetrators in more than 70% of cases of non-reciprocal IPV. PASK found a similar result, with 67.2% of non-reciprocal IPV involving female perpetrators and male victims in large population samples.
Recent media reports suggest that RAWA adheres to the Duluth Model of domestic and intimate partner violence, with or without using it by name. The Duluth Model entirely ignores reciprocal IPV. As can be seen from the evidence presented earlier in this article the position on reciprocal IPV espoused by the Duluth Model runs entirely counter to the reality of intimate partner violence. We can see that the Duluth Model regards IPV as something that men do to women by observing the Duluth Model Power and Control Wheel.
Looking at the Duluth Model Power and Control Wheel we can see examples of IPV such as Making and/or carrying out threats to do something to hurt her, destroying her property, humiliating her, taking her money and finally there is an entire category called USING MALE PRIVILEGE.
A research paper by Dutton and Corvo entitled Transforming a flawed policy: A call to revive psychology and science in domestic violence research and practice shows clearly that the Duluth Model is not empirically supported and is thus flawed. The organisation that administers the Duluth Model, Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs (DAIP), has sought to deny this through the release of a response to Dutton and Corvo entitled Countering Confusion.
A post on the blog Dalrock entitled Setting the record straight on Duluth is itself a response to Countering Confusion and demonstrates that not only does Countering Confusion fail to successfully reject arguments set forth in Dutton and Corvo but it in fact demonstrates them within its own text.
Reciprocal IPV shows gender parity. Non-reciprocal IPV shows a predominance of female perpetrators in studies of large population samples. The Duluth Model is flawed. That is what research shows.
If RAWA is not using an evidence based approach to DV/IPV then it is doing a disservice to the West Australian community. In particular, any organisation that ignores the prevalence of reciprocal IPV is preventing effective interventions as its approach discounts the need to intervene with violent women. This will contribute to the continuation of reciprocal IPV and actually make it more likely that the women involved will be injured.
I encourage RAWA to respond, explaining whether the organisation intends to address the shortcomings in its approach to IPV and if so, how. Please note that this is an open letter and will be published in various locations online. In the interests of transparency we strongly encourage RAWA to publish a response. From time to time we will report to our readers as to whether a private response has been received or a public response published.
President, Australian Men’s Rights Association Inc.
 PASK “Partner Abuse State of Knowledge” project, the largest meta-analysis of DV/IPV research ever undertaken. http://www.domesticviolenceresearch.org
 “Findings About Partner Violence From the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study” http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/170018.pdf
 “Differences in Frequency of Violence and Reported Injury Between Relationships With Reciprocal and Nonreciprocal Intimate Partner Violence” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1854883/
 “Researcher Says Women’s Initiation of Domestic Violence Predicts Risk to Women”, discussing the work of Dr Deborah Capaldi. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/glenn-sacks/researcher-says-womens-in_b_222746.html
 “Domestic violence is most commonly reciprocal” http://pb.rcpsych.org/content/35/1/33.1
 Duluth Model Power and Control Wheel http://www.theduluthmodel.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/PowerandControl.pdf
 Dutton and Corvo research paper http://www.researchgate.net/publication/257141198_Dutton_and_Corvo
 Countering Confusion http://www.theduluthmodel.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/CounteringConfusion.pdf
 Setting the record straight http://dalrock.wordpress.com/2017/02/06/setting-the-record-straight-on-duluth/