Tuesday, April 17th, 2012
1 in 3 victims of family violence is male

Of young boys and girls (average age 15 years old) witnessing mum being aggressive or violent to their dad:
  • - 34% of the girls compared to 2.6% of the boys had “kicked, bitten or hit a romantic partner”
  • - 18.8% of girls but no boys reported having hit their romantic partner with an object.
  • - boys reported engaging in more physically aggressive acts toward their friends
  • - girls reported engaging in more physically aggressive acts toward their romantic partners

The negative role modelling by mum on the kids, especially girls, subsequent behaviour in romantic relationships, is grossly underestimated.

“Thirty years of research and over 500 research studies3 keep no secret about female aggression toward their male partners,” say’s Dr. Elizabeth Celi, Psychologist and Author of “Breaking the Silence – A practical guide for male victims of domestic abuse”.

Having worked with male victims of domestic abuse, and with many concerned and distressed family and friends contacting Dr. Celi since the release of her book, she highlights; “Men and kids, especially daughters, are getting the impression that mum hitting, yelling or criticising dad is somewhat ‘normal’ behaviour in a relationship, which has obvious disastrous implications for our kids future relationships.”

“Within the research, women themselves self report both that they assault men at an equal rate to men’s assaults, and that they initiate the abuse & violence at a higher proportion than men”(2), says Dr. Celi.

The National Family Violence Survey(4) had 2994 women self report;
  • - assaults by the male partner on them, reported at a rate of 122 per 1000 couples
  • - assaults by the women toward their male partner reported at a rate of 124 per 1000 couples

Of the 495 couples4,5 who reported one or more assaults, the women again reported;
  • - in 25.9% of violent relationships, the man was the only violent partner
  • - 25.5% of violent relationships, the woman was the only violent partner
  • - 48.6% of violent relationships, both the man and woman were violent
He initiated the violence in 42.3% of cases while she initiated the violence in 53.1% of cases

Self defence is not a plausible reason for women’s violence in these relationships.

The risk of dad staying in an abusive relationship longer than a female victim is high.

Dr. Celi says, “Intellectually, he’s committed to the promise of marriage and loves her. Emotionally and instinctively, he doesn’t want to risk leaving the kids alone with her should he leave.”

Dr. Celi says, “If we’re serious about reducing the devastating issue of family violence, especially domestic violence, we need to seriously look at both female and male victims as well as male and female perpetrators”

For further media enquiries, please call Dr. Elizabeth Celi directly on 041 333 8237 or on [email protected]

1. Fact sheets available at www.oneinthree.com.au

2. Morettie, et al. (2006). Exposure to maternal vs. paternal partner violence, PTSD, and aggression in adolescent girls and boys, Aggressive behaviour, 32, 35-395

3. Bibliography of this research can be downloaded at www.drceli.com.au/breaking-the-silence

4. Straus, M.A (2005). Womens vilence toward men is a serious soial problem. In D.R. Loseke, R.J. Gelles & M.M. Cavanaugh (Eds.), Current controversies on family violence.

5. Archer (2000), Sex differences in aggression between heterosexual partners; A meta-analytic review. Psychological Bulletin, 126(5), 651-680

Contact Profile

Dr. Elizabeth Celi

P: 0413 338 237
W: www.oneinthree.com.au


domestic violence



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