Australian men escape blame for domestic violence, study says

© Susana Vera
Victim blaming is “firmly entrenched” among Australians when it comes to violence against females, a new study says. It found that men escape blame while women blame themselves. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called the findings "utterly unacceptable.”

The report, conducted by market research group TNS and commissioned by the Department of Social Services, surveyed 1,000 Australians between the ages of 10 and 25, and found that citizens of the country are taught from childhood to understate the severity of family violence, AAP reported.

It found that males largely escape blame for domestic abuse, with females excusing aggressive behavior as men simply seeking attention. Meanwhile, males excused the behavior as men wanting to be heard.

The study went on to state that females tend to blame themselves, adding that there is “little empathy towards the female experience.”

“Males were frequently given the benefit of the doubt, where females were given the burden of proof to establish no provocation had occurred,” the report said.

Turnbull called the findings “utterly unacceptable,” adding that it paints a “disturbing picture.”

“Not all disrespect of women ends up in violence against women, but all violence against women begins with disrespecting women,” the prime minister said.

He added that “the most, the single most important thing each and every one of us can do as parents especially – as fathers, and as mothers – is to make sure that our sons respect their mothers and their sisters."

The research is due to be released by the Turnbull government on Wednesday, to coincide with Australia's White Ribbon Day, which is aimed at preventing male violence against women. Wednesday is also the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

The Australian government plans on using the study to launch a AUS$30 million (US$20 million) national campaign, due to start in 2016.

"The campaign aims to equip influencers to help break the cycle," Minister for Women Michaelia Cash said.