Erasing mothers’ violence towards their children

14 December 2021
4:00 AM

When the Howard government introduced family law reforms encouraging shared parenting, Australia led the world in supporting children’s rights to have both divorced parents actively involved in their care. Now, fifteen years later, these reforms have been derailed by claims this puts youngsters at risk through exposing them to violent fathers. The whole family law system has been highjacked by false violence accusations very effectively ensuring women retain care of children whilst most dads fight for minimal contact.

Imagine if the truth emerged that mothers pose a far greater risk than fathers of physical and psychological abuse and neglect of children. Think of the repercussions if there was proper public discussion of the irrefutable statistical evidence showing fathers are more likely to provide safer care than mothers.

It might even give a family court judge pause before he gives a nod to the current default position of believing a woman’s claims that she’s the safer option. That’s the last thing feminist bureaucrats want – hence they work hard to ensure all relevant government bodies toe the line.

The systematic suppression of statistics showing women’s violence towards their children is one of the great untold stories – a scandal that our docile media dutifully ignores in their determination to stick to the ‘dangerous dad’ narrative.

Amazingly it is over twenty-five years since our official Australian government bodies have published statistics on the gender of child abuse perpetrators – despite this information being readily available in the data sets used for their regular reports on child protection issues.

Back in 1996, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare published a paper on child abuse and neglect which included the provocative finding that mothers were nearly twice as likely (628 compared to 331 cases) as fathers to be responsible for abuse or neglect, according to data from the states and territories for which information was available. The research paper also noted that ‘more substantiated emotional and sexual abuse and neglect cases involved children from female single-parent families than from other types of families’.

When this revealing data was picked up by the media, the sisterhood flexed its muscles. In the next year, the AIHW announced their decision no longer to publish figures on the gender of perpetrators of child abuse. Their explanation was fatuous – claiming not all states had provided relevant statistics, which was also true for the data that caused the stir in 1996. (See the 1996 paper here, which unsurprisingly is no longer available on the AIHW website.)

So, for the last quarter century, our official statisticians monitoring the abuse of the most vulnerable people in our society have been dancing to the feminists’ tune and refusing to release information vital to child protection.

Yet the odd crack has emerged in this carefully controlled wall of silence regarding child safety. In 2008 a freedom of information request forced the West Australian Department of Child Protection to cough up their statistics which showed that mothers were perpetrators in 73 per cent of cases of neglect and abuse by parents in 2007-8. Mothers were responsible for almost 68 per cent of cases of emotional and psychological abuse by parents, about 53 per cent of physical abuse, and more than 93 per cent of all neglect cases. Here’s the overview:

But that’s a rare glimpse at the truth on this issue. In the main, the carefully constructed narrative holds firm in this country, with nothing allowed to detract from the dangerous dad plot-line. Look at this article about ‘Who Abuses Children?’ from the Australian Institute of Family Studies. It follows the feminist script by conveniently lumping together fathers and stepfathers to claim twice as many children are physically abused by ‘dads’ than mums.

Earlier this year journalist Angela Shanahan wrote for The Weekend Australian about the feminist war on men. She included discussion of the reporting of filicide, where parents kill their children. As Shanahan explained, a father who kills his child is inevitably labelled a monster, whilst the media indulges in endless psychobabble finding excuses as to how a mother could possibly do such a thing.

Shanahan mentioned research from a 2012 national study of filicide which found that although slightly more of the perpetrators were men, children were actually most likely to be killed by their mothers than their fathers. Of the total of 284 children killed between 2000 and 2010 by a parent or a stepparent most (133) were killed by their mothers, 81 were killed by their fathers, with the remaining children killed by stepfathers.

(These patterns have since been confirmed – a 2015 examination of homicide data by the Australian Institute of Criminology noted that females accounted for over half – 52 per cent – of filicide offenders.)

One of the authors of the 2012 study then leapt into print with a letter to the editor, claiming it was ‘not helpful to demonise any perpetrator group’. Having included these figures in early drafts of her article, detailed figures on gender of perpetrators disappeared from all subsequent versions of the article.

Shanahan found herself up before the Press Council defending the figures she quoted in the article – ultimately successfully. The statistics have now been removed from The Australian’s website.

Recently, Australia has seen dreadful killings by mothers of their children.

‘Why are more mothers killing their children?’ asked the magazine Marie Claire in a rare article on this subject two years ago. The litany of horrors included in the article included: Kathleen Folbigg’s murder of her four babies; former Australian water polo player Keli Lane’s murder of her newborn baby Tegan; Cairns mother Raina Thaiday’s stabbing her seven children and her niece to death. And then there was four-year-old Chloe Valentine who died from at least 39 injuries to her body after being repeatedly forced to ride a 50kg motorbike. Her mother, Ashlee Jean Polkinghorne, filmed her crashing into various objects.

Naively, the article asks why nothing is being done to address the issue of filicide. The answer is simple; women are the major perpetrators, and no one wants to know.

The same picture emerges from countries everywhere – mothers are responsible for most child deaths. A very large study published in the British Medical Journal in 2017 reviewed 9431 studies to produce data from 33 countries and found that mothers committed 54.7 per cent of all parental homicides.

Look at this comparison using the latest 2019 data from America’s Child Maltreatment reports showing child homicides involving fathers compared to mothers, either acting alone or with a non-parent. The risk to children is over twice as large from mum, or mum plus boyfriend.

The same report shows over twice as many American cases of child abuse are perpetrated by mums acting alone than dads – 39.0 per cent compared to 22.6 per cent.

It is absolutely perverse that judges are using untested domestic violence accusations to keep fathers away from their children – ignorant of the fact that research shows in most genuinely violent families, women are involved in two-way violence. And they are being denied the official data showing the very much greater risks to children of living in sole mum households, particularly with strange men passing through their lives.