Pell shocked by indigenous domestic violence

Cardinal George Pell of Sydney has said he was shocked by statistics showing reported rates of domestic assault in the indigenous community had increased by 50% in NSW over seven years.

CLICK HERECardinal Pell was described as an "ambassador", and quoted briefly in today's Sydney Morning Herald.

In the article's lead, indigenous leader and ALP vice-president, Warren Mundine, was reported as having rebuked Aboriginal men for the horrific level of domestic violence in many communities.

He said bashing women was not part of traditional Aboriginal culture, and he was tired of the excuses men made for their behaviour, including blaming alcohol, and problems at home.

"I'm tired of hearing Aboriginal men say they bashed their wife because white fellows took our country," he said yesterday. "Now that really [teaches] the white fellows a lesson."

Mr Mundine is one of dozens of prominent men, including Cardinal Pell, to be appointed "ambassadors" by UNIFEM, the UN development fund for women, in a campaign to eliminate violence against women. Culminating in White Ribbon Day on Friday, the campaign has featured controversial TV advertising, and is part of the biggest effort by men across the world, in partnership with women, to end domestic violence.

A recent survey of 6600 women by the Australian Institute of Criminology found 10% of Australian women had experienced male physical or sexual violence the previous year, and almost 60% had experienced it over their life-time. A study last year by VicHealth found that for women younger than 45, violence contributed more to their poor health and death than factors such as smoking and obesity.

Mr Mundine said part of the problem was that violence towards women appeared to be acceptable.

No excuse for violence, says Aboriginal leader (Sydney Morning Herald 23/11/05)

23 Nov 2005