Whilst browsing the internet recently I came across an article entitled “women family violence offenders leading to prison expansion”. In my job I quite often hear about family violence in the context of men offending against women, but less often about women family violence offenders.
There is significant weight placed on combatting family violence against women, for example the White Ribbon Campaign and the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Family Violence against Women, but less directed at combating family violence against men.
In 2010, the One in Three Campaign was established to address and monitor the growth in family violence offences being committed against men. The Campaign specifically looked at the rates of family violence and found that:
- one in three family violence victims are men; and
- one in four young people have witnessed family violence against their father or step-father, perpetrated by their mother or step-mother.
The article I read referred to a recent study in Tasmania which addressed the recent unprecedented level of women who are serving a term of imprisonment in Tasmania for family violence offences. The main link between these offences is the use of illicit substances. It was reported that “Drug use, potentially with the involvement of ice changes their [women’s] offending profile, making them more likely to commit family violence offences”. As a result the women’s prison in Tasmania is at 87% capacity.
According to a recent report from the ABC, it was estimated that the average inmate number at the Mary Hutchison Women’s Prison was 52, which is 6 women above the prison’s capacity of 46 women. The state government announced that they would spend $4.7 million for 20 extra beds for the prison.