There used to be a time when homes were believed to give shelter from anguish. More recently, domestic violence (dv) against women has been spiralling to staggering statistics. As an issue of urgency within the Indian community, The Hindu Women’s Council of Australia supported by Strathfield council, held a Forum on Domestic Violence, on November 21, 2015. ‘DV is a silent problem sitting in our society with two women being reported to have been killed by a partner or an ex-partner in NSW every week’, stated Hon. Craig Laundy, Member of Parliament.
DV can take many forms such as physical and sexual assault, damage to property, stalking and intimidation. Harassment through social media, verbal and spiritual abuse in addition to psychological and economic harms have spiralled. ‘Invisible violence’ is meted out in many implicit forms such as verbal insinuations, social isolation, shaming, denial of basic facilities and economic restrictions, said Ms. Aruna Chandrala from Global Women’s network. Solicitor Ms. Chandrika Subramaniyan observed that violence such as misusing the victim’s ignorance of their legal rights and accusing victims for false reasons are not commonly discussed while referring to dv.
Limited English language skills and fear of authority figure is resulting in under reporting a major concern to tackle dv. ‘Women also tend to withdraw intervention orders against violent partners at alarming rates’, said Leading Senior Constable Karlsen, ‘the problem often stemming from the ‘But I love him’ syndrome’.
Ms. Pallavi Sinha – Lawyer, Human Rights & Advocate for Women said, ‘A high percentage of abused women are Indian and mostly women less than 45 years of age die as a result of domestic violence’
DV leads to stress and may result in one or more of the medical issues such as asthma, depression, weight problems, stress incontinence and heart diseases, Dr Subbaram Sundar, Medical General Practitioner & Community Specialist in DV, expressed concern. “It also affects children in the families due to depression, anxiety disorder etc.”
The NSW Government spends more than four billion dollars per year towards domestic violence. There are many support groups that help victims rebuild their confidence and re-establish their lives, said Jody McKay, Member of Parliament. The forum expressed consensus that it is essential for everyone in the society to take responsibility and speak up against violence of any kind.
For anyone who needs help, one or more of the following resources can be contacted
Violence against Women Confidential Hotline 1800 200 526 (24-hour state-wide free call)
DoCS Domestic Violence Line 1800 65 64 63 (24-hour state-wide free call)