Domestic violence and the welfare state

Hopkins, Susan and Ostini, Jenny (2015) Domestic violence and the welfare state. Overland. ISSN 0030-7416


Australia’s domestic violence crisis was spotlighted recently, due to a series of horrific incidents in Queensland that included the deaths of two women on the Gold Coast and a machete attack on a woman at Wacol. Political and popular demands for decisive national leadership addressing the domestic homicide epidemic led to Australia’s then-prime minister Tony Abbott and his frontbencher Christopher Pyne making public statements calling for public courage and new values. More recently, Malcolm Turnbull, in his first major announcement as the new prime minister, has ‘upped the ante’ calling for a ‘cultural shift’ to challenge the misogynistic attitudes which support and legitimate violence against women.

This rush to reclaim and reposition national ‘values’ and ‘culture’ is peculiarly context free. Such statements create the strategic impression of action and leadership, but also conveniently skate over deeper cultural and political issues of how vulnerability to violence is compounded by intersections of social class, race and ethnicity. By invoking the often-repeated claim that domestic violence transcends all social class boundaries, neoliberal politicians effectively avoid responsibility for creating a ‘lean and mean’ policy environment that makes some women more vulnerable to abuse.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: No
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: c. O.L. Society Limited. Published online 29 Sept 2015. Permanent restricted access to ArticleFirst version, in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Australian Digital Futures Institute
Date Deposited: 03 Dec 2015 02:32
Last Modified: 21 Feb 2017 06:39
Uncontrolled Keywords: politics, violence, neoliberalism, domestic violence, incarceration, women, welfare, class, society, culture
Fields of Research : 20 Language, Communication and Culture > 2002 Cultural Studies > 200205 Culture, Gender, Sexuality
20 Language, Communication and Culture > 2001 Communication and Media Studies > 200101 Communication Studies
20 Language, Communication and Culture > 2099 Other Language, Communication and Culture > 209999 Language, Communication and Culture not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 94 Law, Politics and Community Services > 9401 Community Service (excl. Work) > 940116 Social Class and Inequalities
C Society > 94 Law, Politics and Community Services > 9402 Government and Politics > 940203 Political Systems

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