One of the fundamental purposes of a civilized society is to protect its members from acts of violence committed by others (Family Violence Prevention Taskforce 1994, p. iii)
This discussion will look at the fundamental ways in which society attempts to protect its citizens from acts of violence in an Australian context. For the purposes of this paper I will focus on violence in the family context. It will explore these issues by discussing conceptualisation and social construction of the way in which we attempt to practice ‘protection’. Firstly, this will be explored through the historical aspects, the powers of the state, power and social control, exploring protection issues within a culturally integrated construction. This paper, will discuss these relationships and the impact stakeholders contribute to the commitment of protecting its citizens from acts of violence within Australian communities. Family violence is a fundamental issue that requires protection. For an understanding of family violence and its pervasive nature, it is important to recognise that family violence occurs in many relationships with Australian society and is not restricted to any particular socioeconomic, racial or cultural groups. Domestic and family violence does not discriminate and it affects men, women, children, families, neighbours, workplaces and communities. The concept of child abuse and family violence are socially constructed, women and children significantly affected. What is considered to be abusive alters over time and within cultures and communities (Raymond, 2009, p. 19). Social construction introduces the possibilities of change, what ‘justice’ is and what it means to shift from one generation to the next. One in three women have experienced physical violence since the age of 15 and one in five have experienced sexual violence. (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2006). Indigenous women and girls are 35 times more likely, than non-indigenous, to be hospitalised due to family violence related assaults ( KPMG,2009). From these statistics it is possible to see that these crimes are gendered crimes. These women and children are from diverse backgrounds with disabilities, young women, women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, indigenous women, same-sex attracted women and older women. While a small proportion of men are victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, the majority of people who experience this kind of violence are women, in their home, at the hands of men they know.(ABS, 2006) The emotional and personal cost of violence against women and children cannot be measured but the effects reach out to all Australian society with the economic cost of violence to the nation at $13.6 billion dollars each year.(KPMF,2009) Fundamental to providing protection is the recognition that family violence impacts on the ability of both parents to provide care to their children. Children are considered to be directly involved whether it is by witnessing the violence or by being subject to the violence. As stated by Chris Beckett, in recent years, there has been a shift to bring adult domestic violence within the child protection arena (2007, p.155). A fundamental way in which Australia protects it citizens from violence is through the use of Legislation. Legislation for the protection of children began in Australia in the late 1800’s with the Protection of Children Act 1896 being the first legislation to specifically address abuse and neglect of children (Raymond, 2009, p. 14). The Industrial and Reformatory Schools Act 1865 ( Qld) was set up to educate and care for neglected children and for young offenders. Significantly colonial policies forced the removal of Indigenous children from their families during the 1900’s “stolen generation”, and in the interest of protection, continue to do so today under the Child Protection Act 1999 through the continued removal of children from indigenous families and therefore can...
Bibliography: Australian Bureau of Statistics (2006). Personal safety survey(reissue). Canberra.
Beckett, C. 2007, Child Protection: An Introduction. London: Sage.
Council of Australian Governments, 2009, Protecting Children is Everyone 's Business-National Framework for Protecting Australia 's Children 2009-2020, Australian Government.
Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 1989
KPMG. (2009). The Cost of Violence against women and their Children, Safety Taskforce, Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and indigenous Affairs. Australian Government.
National Council to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children,2009, Time for Action, The National Council 's Plan for Australia to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children, 2009-2021, Australian Government.
Raymond, A. 2009, Issues of Protection. Lismore: Southern Cross University.
Steering Committe for the Review of gevernmentr Service Provision,2009, Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage: Key Indicators. Commonwealth of Australia.
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